India has asked the European Union (EU) to thrash out a consensus among member countries on the proposed Indo-EU trade and investment agreement.
The agreement is proposed to have a much broader framework than a traditional free trade agreement.
Commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath during his meetings with EU Agriculture Minister Mariann Fischer Boel in March had expressed disappointment that negotiations for the pact had been delayed for so long.
India and the EU had agreed on a broad-based trade and investment agreement at the Helsinki Summit in October 2006.
Sources said there was a need for an early commencement of negotiations for concluding the agreement, but it was imperative for the 27 member countries of the EU to first reach consensus.
Negotiations on the proposed agreement between India and the EU are scheduled to commence towards the end of this month.
The EU as a bloc is India’s largest trading partner, accounting for about 20 per cent of India’s trade with the world. Bilateral trade between India and the EU stood at a little over $45 billion in 2005-06. Of this India’s exports to the EU were $22.95 billion and imports from the EU $22.84 billion.