India-EU FTA to create jobs, boost trade: IEBF

India-EU FTA to create jobs, boost trade: IEBF New Delhi: Implementation of the free-trade agreement between India and EU will help in creating lakhs of jobs besides boosting two-way trade, a London-based non-profit organisation has said.

Indo-European Business Forum (IEBF), a non-government organisation involved in promoting trade between the two sides, said that both the regions are facing problems related with unemployment.

"When the free trade pact will come into force, it will help in creation of lakhs of jobs both in India and in the European Union (EU) nations," IEBF's India Head Sunil Kumar Gupta told PTI.

India and the 27-nation EU are negotiating the free trade agreement, officially dubbed as Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), since June 2007 and are aiming to conclude negotiations soon.

Gupta said that due to economic recession, the EU is experiencing high levels of unemployment.

According to EU's official statistical agency Eurostat, EU's unemployment rate was 10.7 percent in October 2012, up from 10.6 percent in September. It was 9.9 percent in October 2011.

"The FTA would certainly help in creating more employment opportunities. The increase of business and growth of economies would result in creation of more jobs and uplift the standard of living in the EU and India," Gupta added.

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.

Further, Gupta said that to explore business opportunities in India and the EU, IEBF is launching its Indian chapter in the national capital on January 9.

"We are organising a India-EU business conference on this occasion, which will be attended by top business and corporate captains from both the regions," he said.

Among those attending the conference include, Hinduja group Chairman S P Hinduja, Managing Director Hinduja Group G P Hinduja, Dabur India Managing Director Mohit Burman, CMD IIFCL S K Goel among others, he said.

"The conference will help in providing a platform for companies of both the sides," he added.

Another major issue that will figure in the conference will be on how Indian and EU companies operating here make their CSR initiatives more meaningful, Gupta explained.

The two-way trade between India and EU increased to USD 110.26 billion in 2011 from USD 83.37 billion in 2010.

"The EU is India's largest trading partner and with the passing of the FTA the trade between both the partners can touch record highs," Gupta added.

According to a report by industry body Ficci, the trade between India and EU is likely to more than double to exceed USD 207 billion by 2015, if the trade pact is formalised.

PTI