Zee News, India
EU to use FTA to access Indian mkt for agri goods
27 June 2007
New Delhi, June 27: Having failed to get any concession on fast-expanding Indian market for food products in the WTO talks, the European Union will push for achieving a similar objective in its bilateral negotiations with New Delhi on the India-EU Free Trade Agreement.
According to an EU official, Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel made her intentions clear last week in Brussels while interacting with European Agricultural trade experts.
"The Indian middle class is hungry for exciting food and drink experiences that go beyond Indian cuisine. And this middle class is growing at the rate of 35 million people per year in other words, by the population of a medium-sized European country," Boel had said.
She also revealed her negotiating strategy and preferences in the FTA that the EU and India intend to sign by end of 2008.
"We have a much clearer idea of which issues to focus on in our FTA negotiations with New Delhi," she said.
According to an EU official, when so many foreign companies are getting into strong position to increase their sales in India, the European food-processing firms would also "need a piece of the action".
While the EU wants to benefit from the growing food requirements of the Indian middle class, Boel warned the European trading partners not to depend on FTAs for seeking extra mileage after unsuccessful attempts in the WTO to reach any agreement.