New Delhi: The European Union, which is negotiating a comprehensive trade pact with India, on Wednesday, said allowing free movement of Indian professionals will help the 27-nation bloc in the long run.
The proposed free-trade agreement between India and the European Union, officially called as Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), seeks to liberalise trade in goods and services.
"We are currently negotiating BTIA. One of the chapters will be services ... It will be in our interest (to import labour from India)," Ambassador of the European Union, Joao Cravinho said here at a function.
"... There is a potential debate going on -- long term vs short term. Policy makers understand that it is in our long-term interest. There are resistances in short term," he said.
Cravinho said that "sooner or later demand for labour will (become) fierce (in Europe)...Mobility is a part of wider framework. Import is in our favour."
He added that EU is currently engaged in the process for unification of market to increase labour mobility.
BITA will provide for liberalising of trade in services, an area of strength for India, which faces hurdles, especially issuance of visas by several EU member countries such as Germany and Britain.
According to sources, EU wants India to open its services sector like accountancy, insurance, banking and retail to overseas professionals and companies.
The trade between EU and India stood at USD 91.3 billion in 2010-11. A Ficci report said that trade is likely to more than double to exceed USD 207 billion by 2015, if the trade pact is formalised.
The country and its largest trading partner EU aim to slash duties on over 90 per cent of the trade under the pact.
India has already implemented comprehensive FTAs with countries such as Japan, Malaysia and South Korea.
First Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2012, 23:41