New Delhi: Advocating for early conclusion of the proposed free-trade agreement between India and EU, leading industrialist G P Hinduja has said that the move would help in creating more jobs and boost investments.
Hinduja, who is also the Co-Chairman of Hinduja group of companies, said that officials of both the sides need to speed up the process of negotiations.
"This (FTA) would help in creating jobs and investment opportunities and will improve the living standard of people in both regions," he said while addressing a meeting on Wednesday through video-conferencing.
India and the 27-nation bloc EU are negotiating the free-trade agreement, officially dubbed as Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), since June 2007, and are aiming to conclude talks soon.
Emphasising the need to increase trade between India and the European Union (EU), Hinduja added that the agreement will help in bringing both the regions closer.
He was speaking at a conference on exploring business opportunities between India and EU, organised by the Indo European Business Forum (IEBF), a non-government organisation involved in promoting trade between the two sides.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Commerce and Industries D Purandeswari said that India, which is one of the largest growing emerging markets in the world with an ever expanding middle-class, is a fit place for investing.
"India is a growing giant and nobody can ignore that. It has a bright future with a growth rate that is moreover steady between 5-7 per cent, despite the global downturn and Eurozone crisis. It has a rising middle class and is one of the largest emerging markets in the world," she said.
Dabur India Managing Director Mohit Burman stressed on increasing opportunities for interaction between businessmen from India and EU, like the one organised by IEBF, which would go a long way in creating mutual respect and understanding between both the sides.
The two-way trade between India and EU increased to USD 110.26 billion in 2011 from USD 83.37 billion in 2010.
The BTIA seeks to liberalise trade in goods and services. The negotiations for the pact has missed several deadlines. Differences between the two sides on the level of opening of the market came in the way of the conclusion of the pact.
India has been seeking a single visa for its professionals on short-term contractual visits to the European Union. On the other hand, the 27-nation bloc has been asking for significant reduction in customs duty on cars, wines and spirits on their exports to India.