Bloomberg News

EU’s Barroso Says Flexibility by India Needed in Trade Talks

February 13, 2012

Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) -- European Commission President Jose Barroso pressed India to show the flexibility needed to complete a free-trade agreement between the two economies.

“I trust it is going to happen if there is some flexibility on the Indian side,” Barroso said today at an event in Mumbai, India. “We are very close to an agreement and I hope that we can conclude it soon.”

The “real problem” in the trade-deal talks, which have been going on since 2007, involves “some issues regarding procurement and services,” Barroso said. “That’s where we have not yet achieved the level of consensus that is needed,” he added without being more specific.

Disagreements over Indian duties on cars and spirits and limited access for India to the EU’s labor market have hindered efforts to reach an accord. “In terms of tariffs, basically the work is done,” Barroso said today.

At an EU-India summit in New Delhi on Feb. 10, the two sides “made good progress with negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement, and the perimeter of a final agreement is emerging,” Barroso said today. “I am confident that we can finalize the negotiations in the months to come.” Last week, he said the talks should be completed “this autumn.”

The EU is India’s largest trading partner, accounting for 14 percent of foreign commerce, and its largest source of foreign direct investment. A deal between the two economies would be the biggest trade agreement in the world, delivering benefits to a combined population of 1.7 billion people.

--With assistance from Jennifer M. Freedman in Geneva. Editors: James Hertling, Jeffrey Donovan

To contact the reporter on this story: Jones Hayden in Brussels at jhayden1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net


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