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'Restrictions in services sector deterrent in India-EU FTA'

Restrictions in the field of mobility in the service sector are acting as deterrents in the proposed free trade agreement between India and the European Union, according to economic think-tank ICRIER.



New Delhi: Restrictions in the field of mobility in the service sector are acting as deterrents in the proposed free trade agreement between India and the European Union, according to economic think-tank ICRIER.

India and the European Union (EU) are negotiating a broad-based Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) since June, 2007 and the services sector has emerged as an important aspect in these talks, Ficci said in a statement.

Ficci, ICRIER and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) today jointly organised a stakeholder consultation on 'Enhancing India-EU Bilateral Trade, Investment and Collaboration in Services'.

They discussed with the representatives of five sectors - IT/ITes, logistics, energy, retail and professional services - on the issues delaying the conclusion of the agreement.

"When it comes to IT/ITes both India and EU have interest in this sector. But labour mobility restrictions in EU and the complex procedures to obtain visa and work permits in India are a deterrent," ICRIER Professor Arpita Mukherjee said.

Mukherjee also said that the EU with its stringent data recognition policies does not recognise India as a data adequate nation which proves to be a hindrance.

"The logistics sector expects more investment, skill development and technology transfer after the signing of BTIA," she said adding both the sides are facing shortage of fossil fuels, and "India holds a defensive position in negotiations while EU has an offensive position."

The think tank has undertaken a study on 'Enhancing Bilateral Trade, Investment and Collaboration in Services: India and EU', which aimed at providing policy recommendations.

The study covers five services sectors of interest to India and EU.

"The study examines the trade potential, investment prospects and collaborations in these sectors, analyses the pattern of bilateral trade flows, barriers faced in each other's markets and identifies areas for future cooperation," Ficci said in a statement.

PTI

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