New Delhi: Much-delayed India-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is not likely to be completed in the near future, but "some announcement" will be made on February 10 here, when the two sides meet for their annual summit, sources said.
In the run-up to the Summit, the Prime Minister's Trade and Economic Relations Committee (TERC) will review progress of the negotiations underway since 2007. These talks were to conclude in 2011, but differences among the two sides on the level of opening of the market came in the way of the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA).
The pact is meant to open Indian and the European markets for trade in goods, services and investment.
"The talks are at crucial stage. You will definitely hear some announcement during the Summit. We have to work out a pact which is acceptable to both of us," a senior Commerce Ministry official said.
He said some issues need to be worked out, particularly in regard to the automobile industry. The Europeans are seeking a substantial cut in import duties on their cars into the Indian market, while the domestic industry here is showing resistance.
Asked when the pact could be signed, the official said it would take time. "Legal texting and approval from Cabinet (in India) or Parliament (by EU) will take time," he said.
EU also wants India to open its services sector including in banking and other financial services besides foreign direct investment in retail.
Also, the 27-nation bloc has been pressing India to agree for an intellectual property rights regime over and above what the country has agreed multilaterally in the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
The FTA would involve slashing of duties on over 90 percent of the trade and opening up of the mutual markets for services and investment.
The two-way commerce stood at USD 75 billion in 2009-10. India has already implemented comprehensive FTAs with countries like Japan, Malaysia and South Korea.
First Published: Sunday, January 22, 2012, 13:18