Although negotiations on the much-awaited India-European Union (EU) Free Trade Agreement (FTA) are likely to be concluded by summer this year, the formal signing will only happen by the end of this year at the India-EU summit.
Talking to a group of journalists here, Delegation of European Union Ambassador Daniele Smadja said negotiations on the ticklish issues like temporary mobility of skilled professionals and services besides intellectual property rights were likely to be concluded by summer and then the agreement would have to be summated to member States of EU for ratification.
“The main agreement is expected to be firmed up by April-May. But we do not expect the agreement to be signed then as we will need more time. We will have to wait till the next Summit when the leaders may be able to sign the agreement,” she said.
Identifying some of the provisions of the proposed FTA, Ms. Smadja said it would cover temporary mobility of professionals and cross-border supply of services, areas which would be beneficial in India's context.
Aspects related to Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and provision of data exclusivity will also form part of the FTA. "Anybody doing business would need to have confidence that a regulator is going to take care. It is extremely important for research and innovation,'' she said. She said EU was looking for higher market access for goods in India while the latter would be looking at access to services and this has to be balanced in negotiations.
She also said that EU would be introducing a ‘Blue Card' on the pattern of U.S.' Green Card that would make easy the inter-country and inter-corporate movement of professionals in Europe.
With regard to the issue of migration of Indians to the EU countries, she said the two sides have a dialogue under way to address the issue of legal and illegal migration.
On counter-terrorism cooperation, she said it would be beneficial that the agencies of India and European countries work together and know each other better.