India-EU FTA talks stagnant,treaty not before Feb ’12: Germany

India-EU FTA talks stagnant,treaty not before Feb ’12: Germany

Berlin: Terming negotiations between India and the European Union (EU) on the proposed free trade agreement (FTA) as ‘slow and stagnant’, Germany on Wednesday said there was no way the treaty could be signed before the India- EU summit to be held in February 2012 in New Delhi.

“The proposals on the table at present are not very attractive and a lot more needs to be done to work out a satisfying situation for both sides," Germany’s head of foreign trade division, Berend Diekmann told reporters.

At present, progress on the talks is not at all at the desired pace, he added.

High tariffs on automobiles, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, machinery products, procurement policy, agriculture and wines and spirits in India continue to be contentious issues.

Diekmann said India is not ready to open up the market to the EU community and bring down tariffs on automobiles and other major products.

“India is no longer a least developed country (LDC). In fact, it is a developed economy in many aspects and it cannot negotiate and seek concessions as an LDC. At present, India and EU are far away from each other as far as the negotiations are concerned," he said.

India and the 27-nation bloc had started FTA negotiations in 2007 which were to be concluded in 2010.

EU is India’s largest trading partner and the trade volume stood at $75 billion in 2009-10.