German envoy urges resuming EU-India free trade talks

New Delhi, Oct 1 (IANS) Ahead of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit here next week, German Ambassador Martin Ney on Thursday called for suspended talks on a free trade agreement (FTA) between the European Union (EU) and India to be resumed.

“I think returning to negotiating table is the best we can do from all sides,” he told reporters here.

Noting that issues cannot be addressed by staying away from talks, Ney said the FTA issue was particularly close to the heart of Merkel.

Expressing hope that there will be resumption of discussions “sooner than later, he said: “FTA is very much in India’s interest.”

In August, India announced putting off negotiations with the EU on the proposed FTA that was scheduled to take place this month on grounds of the ban imposed by the EU on importing 700 drugs from Hyderabad-based GVK Biosciences.

The trade negotiators from both sides were expected to meet here on August 28 to resume the talks stalled in 2013.

The EU-India free trade talks have failed to reach an agreement over issues pertaining to lowering of tariffs on Indian automobiles and wines and spirits.

Negotiations on the FTA between India and the EU were launched in June 2007 but have been facing hurdles with both sides having differences on crucial issues.

No negotiation was held after both sides failed to bridge disagreements in May 2013 on crucial issues including data security status for the IT sector.

EU-India bilateral trade stood at $101.5 billion in 2013-14.

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