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Social, environmental issues inclusion may delay India-EU FTA

Last Updated: Thursday, September 24, 2009 - 18:19

New Delhi: The European Union`s rigid stand
on inclusion of social and environmental issues in a free
trade agreement with India may delay finalisation of the pact.

"I think it will be a big mistake to ignore social and
environmental implications of a trade agreement. This is an
issue which is going to impact India and EU (free trade
pact)," EU`s chief negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero said at a
workshop jointly organised by the European Economic and Social
Commitee, a civil society organisation, and Ficci here.

India has been opposing inclusion of social and
environmental issues in any multilateral and bilateral trade
talks — be it FTAs or under the aegis of the World Trade
Organisation as there are other international fora to deal
with non-trade matters.

However, the European Parliament was pressing the EU to
include the issues like child and bonded labour and
environment and in FTA negotiations with India.

"We have to address these issues and I hope that we can
address this during negotiations," said Daniele Smadja,
Ambassador, Head of Delegation, EU.

Talks on the trade pact was started in 2007. Seven
rounds of negotiations have been held but the two sides have
not been able to arrive at a consensus on the level of trade
to be covered under the FTA that will eventually eliminate
duties on goods traded.

Bureau Report

First Published: Thursday, September 24, 2009 - 18:19
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