India, EU decide to step up trade deal talks, sign research pact

IANS | 10 February 2012

India, EU decide to step up trade deal talks, sign research pact

By IANS

New Delhi : India and the 27-nation European Union Friday signed two key pacts, including a joint declaration on research and innovation, and agreed to step up negotiations for a broad-based trade and investment pact which continues to be mired in "complex issues."

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held the 12th India-EU summit with European Council president Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso that focused on a wide swathe of issues, including enhanced economic and security cooperation between the two sides.

The leaders of India and the EU held discussions on the broad spectrum of their engagement, including energy cooperation, science and technology, culture, counter-terrorism, piracy and cyber-security.

The EU is India’s largest trading partner, with bilateral trade estimated at $107 billion.

The two sides also discussed a cluster of global issues, including the situation in Syria and Iran and developments in our neighbourhood in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

After the talks, India and the EU signed a joint declaration on research and innovation cooperation and a memorandum of understanding on statistical cooperation which have the potential to ramp up economic ties between the two sides.

"I conveyed to the EU leadership the importance India attaches to EU’s participation in our growth agenda including in infrastructure development, clean energy technologies, innovation, research and skill development," Manmohan Singh told reporters at a joint press conference with EU leaders.

"Greater investment flows in both directions is a win-win proposition for both sides," he said.

Referring to the broad-based trade and investment agreement which the two sides have been negotiating for years, Manmohan Singh said that although both sides have made "considerable progress" in negotiations, there still remains "complex issues" on the way.

"There are complex issues involved, but we have both agreed to expedite discussions so that we can conclude an agreement at the earliest," he said. "We seek solutions that are practical, mutually beneficial and acceptable to both sides," he stressed.

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source: IANS