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EU trade commissioner assures solution for drug seizure issue

EU trade commissioner assures solution for drug seizure issue

New Delhi: The European Union trade commissioner Karel de Gucht has assured Indian Commerce minister Anand Sharma that a solution to the long pending drug seizure issue will be found to the satisfaction of India.

Both leaders met at Brussels to take stock of the progress of the ongoing India EU Broad Based Trade and Investment negotiations. Gutch assured Sharma that the required statutory changes in European regulations would be made to prevent further seizure of India generic drugs in transit.

India and Brazil took the EU to the World Trade Organization over the seizure of generic drugs in transit at European ports. Currently, both sides are undergoing the mandatory consultation process before a formal dispute is registered.

In October, commerce minister Anand Sharma surprised everybody by signaling that India would withdraw the case against Europe on the issue, as it has been resolved. Later Commerce secretary Rahul Khullar clarified that the case will not be withdrawn unless EU amends its transit laws. However, recently commerce ministry officials speaking under condition of anonymity have signaled that the issue may soon be settled as a compromise has been arrived at.

Both sides have been engaged for concluding a bilateral trade deal since 2007. Though they had committed to conclude the deal by December this year, recently commerce ministry officials have said that the negotiations are unlikely to be concluded before the India EU Summit starting on 10 December at Brussels which will be attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. A statement by the commerce ministry said that a joint ministerial statement on the issue would be presented to the leaders at the summit.

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