Senior European Union officials will visit India next month to take forward the ongoing negotiations in Brussels on a proposed free trade agreement between the two sides.

“A team of Indian officials is in Brussels. A negotiation round is going on there and will continue till the end of this week,” Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar told reporters here.

Mr. Khullar said senior officials from Brussels would reach India in May to further the deliberations on the market opening pact, covering trade in goods, services and investment.

Eight rounds of talks have already been completed.

Recently, in Chennai, Ambassador, Head of European Commission Delegation to India, Daniele Smadja had said that the agreement is likely to be finalised by December.

“... The agreement is likely to be finalised by this December,” Ms. Smadja had said.

The two sides are yet to settle the social and environment-related issues under the pact. The 27-member EU wants to include them in the pact, but India is opposed to their inclusion.

India’s exports to its largest trading partner, the EU, in 2008-09 were estimated at $39.35 billion, while imports totalled $42.73 billion.

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