In a renewed effort to conclude negotiations on the India-EU free trade pact by the end of 2010, both sides will engage in a series of meetings next month at Brussels, the European Union headquarters. "In the last week of August, chief negotiators are meeting in Brussels... (around the same time) Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and the EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht will meet on the margins of an international meeting in Vietnam," the Head of the Delegation of the EU to India, Daniele Smadja, said.
At a Ficci function, Smadja said that several sectoral meetings would also be held between the officials.
Despite the fact that there were several issues to be ironed out, both the sides are aiming to conclude the FTA talks by the end of 2010.
"We hope we will keep that date (of concluding the talks)," she said.
The 27-member EU had been insisting for inclusion of non-trade issues like child labour and environment in the trade pact, which was strongly opposed by India.
So far nine round of talks have been completed.
India and its largest trading partner, the EU, have been negotiating the market-opening pact since June, 2007, to give a boost to bilateral commerce of around $82 billion at present.
According to a Ficci-Grant Thornton report released today, the pact is expected to improve market access for goods and services.
It said bilateral trade is expected to exceed Euro 70.7 billion ($91.4 billion) by 2010 and Euro 160.6 billion ($207.6 billion) by 2015.
The ambassador said the proposed comprehensive trade agreement will bring about more predictability in bilateral investment relations.
On the services sector, Smadja said the EU was looking into the demand of India to liberalise visa norms for its professionals.