India, Spain express need for EU-India free trade agreement

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Madrid, May 31 (IANS) India and Spain on Wednesday expressed the need to restart negotiations for an EU-India Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) following talks between visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Spanish counterpart Mariano Rajoy here.

A joint statement issued said both leaders underlined the importance of European Union (EU)-India relations and the need to deepen the existing EU-India dialogues.

“They acknowledged the positive results of 2016 EU-India Summit in March 2016, which marked a new momentum in the EU-India relations,” the statement said.

“They reconfirmed their commitment to the EU-India Agenda for Action 2020 and to the development of cooperation in the areas of foreign and security policy, trade and investment, global issues, natural movement of persons and people to people contacts,” it stated.

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“They addressed the shared interest of the two sides to further engage on the India-EU Broadbased Trade and Investment Agreement and expressed the need to restart negotiations soon.”

The BTIA has been been hanging fire for 11 years despite 16 rounds of negotiations between the two sides. India has called for another meeting chief negotiators soon with the hope of taking this agreement forward.

India has terminated bilateral investment protection treaties (BITs) with many country, including those of the EU, following a new BIT model released by New Delhi in December 2015.

According to the statement, Rajoy explained Spain’s position in the EU, “as a country fully committed with the European Project, and with the main policies and instruments of the European Union”.

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