NATIONAL

"EU in waiting mode on WTO"

New Delhi Oct. 22. The European Union (EU) today said that it was keen to resume talks at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) but wondered whether other trading partners were serious about doing so. It said it would wait for the General Council meeting at Geneva in December which is expected to take stock of the post-Cancun scenario.

"We have already made concessions. Now we are in waiting mode," the Deputy Director General, External Relations of the European Commission, Herve Jouanjean, who is here to attend a meeting of the EU-India Joint Commission, told presspersons. He said the authorities here had indicated they were keen to resume talks. But he felt the EU had already made concessions at Cancun by agreeing to drop the Singapore issues of investment and competition. So it was now time for others to do so, he said.

Mr. Jouanjean said the EU was "extremely disappointed" at the failure of the Cancun conference. He felt there was no need to pinpoint whose fault it was since it was a "collective failure" and a serious blow to the multilateral trading system. The EU was still examining the policies it should adopt now. He said it was keen for the dialogue to resume if other trading partners were serious about this issue.

He said India was putting pressure on the EU to liberalise in movement of persons but was not prepared to open up in other sectors such as financial services. He felt that the EU presented the best offers in the services negotiations prior to the Cancun conference and was somewhat disappointed at the offers made by other countries.

He said a major development was expected at the coming EU-India summit next month with cooperation in the area of space. India was expected to announce its participation in the EU's Galileo space programme and agreements in maritime transport and customs cooperation were on the anvil. The summit, he said, would focus on the growing trade and economic ties, which he described as "healthy and growing."

On the issues discussed at the Joint Commission today, he said a programme of cooperation was envisaged in information technology and biotechnology. A joint IT seminar was proposed to be held in March next year. On trade and investment, discussions were held on irritants such as sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures, which have been proving, an obstacle to Indian exports to the EU.

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