With both sides still poles apart on issues of services, procurement policy, duty cuts on automobiles and wines and spirits, India and the European Union (EU) are working hard to put in a place a “political agreement” during the India-EU Summit slated for February 10 as the free trade agreement (FTA) is unlikely to happen.
“There is good news and bad news. The good news is that we are in intense phase of negotiations. The bad news is that we are behind schedule for the India-EU FTA which it is not going to happen before or during the India-EU Summit in New Delhi next month,” EU Delegation Ambassador to India Joao Cravinho told journalists here.
Mr. Cravinho said negotiations were going on this week and that the EU Director General of trade and chief negotiator would be in India next week to hold intense discussions on the various issues. The Trade Commissioner of EU would also be meeting Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma next week in a bid to bring about a consensus on majority of the issues. “But I must caution that no FTA is happening before February 10. We are still away from such an agreement but efforts are being made to arrive at a political agreement on what is likely to form part of the chain of events leading to a FTA,” he said.
Refusing to go into the specifics of the disagreement on the FTA negotiations, he said both sides had reached finality on goods issue. However, there were persisting differences on the issue of services and procurement policy.