India hopes to complete trade talks with EU in 2010
India hopes to conclude a free-trade agreement with the European Union this year, Indian Trade Minister Anand Sharma said Monday during a visit to Spain.
"We have entered into free trade agreements with many countries, with major economic partners and regional entities and we are negotiating more, including one with the EU, a broad-based trade and investment agreement," he told a Madrid business conference.
"We hope that we will be able to reach a basis for an agreement on trade and investments between India and the EU -- Spain has the EU presidency -- this year," he added.
Spain's industry and trade minister, Miguel Sebastian, said completion of the free-trade talks "would be very, very good news for all of us."
India and the 27-member EU, the South Asian nation's biggest trade partner, launched negotiations for a free-trade agreement in 2007.
But progress has been held up due to differences over intellectual property rights and efforts by Brussels to link trade with climate and India's social sector performance.
India has opposed the incorporation of what it calls "extraneous" non-trade issues into the talks.
© 2010 AFP