Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and the European Union is likely to be finalised by December 2010, with the final round of talks to be held in March, a top official said on Monday.

“India and the EU are negotiating a FTA that has the capacity to advance the relationship and increase bilateral trade. After seven round of negotiations, the final talks would be held in March. After the next round, the agreement is likely to be finalised by this December,” Ambassador, Head of European Commission Delegation to India Daniele Smadja told reporters here.

She said negotiations would lead to the establishment of a well-developed FTA, which will provide mutual benefits to both parties, adding that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso would try to achieve finalising the FTA soon. “We are pretty close to that,” Smadja added.

Stating that India has moved up to the first ten in the list of the EU’s major trading partners, she said once the FTA is finalised, business between the two would rise several fold.

Smadja, who was in the city to inspect EU-sponsored projects in Chennai said, “In recent years, trade with India has been growing at 16 per cent a year compared with the EU’s overall growth rate of trade of ten per cent on account of the growth performance of the Indian economy.”

According to a report by the EU officials, the region accounts for 20 per cent of India’s total trade representing a significant market for Indian textiles export.