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WTO deadlock: EU seeks India's cooperation

The European Parliament called on India and Europe to work on a free trade pact while trying to break the deadlock in the WTO talks.

india Updated: Oct 09, 2006 18:36 IST

The president of the European Parliament calledFriday on India and Europe to work on a free trade pact while trying to break the deadlock in the World Trade Organisation talks.

The proposed India-EU free trade deal would be complementary to the multilateral arrangement, Josep Borrell, head of the 732-member European Parliament, told reporters in New Delhi.

Borrell, who arrived in India on September 30, was speaking at the end of a week-long visit to India during which he met Indian Trade Minister Kamal Nath.

"We have to work to take out the stalemate," said Borrell, referring to the global trade talks which collapsed in Geneva in July over agricultural subsidies.

The talks hit a dead end when Australia, Brazil, the EU, Japan, the United States and India could not agree on a formula for cutting farm subsidies.

The talks were launched in the Qatari capital Doha in 2001 with the aim of lowering barriers to trade and using commerce to give developing countries a boost.

Borrell said the European Parliament was in favour of India and the European Union beginning talks for a Free Trade Agreement in the meantime.

He said such a pact would be "a good thing for the services and industry" sectors of both sides.

"We cannot wait for the conclusion of the Doha Round to move ahead in strengthening our trade relations," he said.

EU Ambassador to India, Francisco Da Camara Gomez said he hoped the India-EU summit in Helsinki next Friday would see the launch of negotiations for free trade talks.

"We hope the political leadership will recommend that both sides start talks," Gomez said.

First Published: Oct 09, 2006 18:36 IST