EU FTA talks expected to move forward in next few days

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The leaders attached importance to the security, stability, connectivity and sustainable development of oceans and seas in the context of developing the "blue economy", said a joint statement during 14th India-EU Summit.

"As for Ukraine, the European Union is invariably united in supporting the territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of Ukraine".

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker today expressed hope that talks on free trade agreement (FTA) between EU and India will move forward in the next few days.

"We have also agreed to cooperate in security in the Indian Ocean region and beyond".

Negotiations on the India-EU free trade agreement started back in 2007, with 16 rounds of talks held since then.

A Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) between India and the European Union has been hanging fire for 11 years now despite 16 rounds of negotiations.

Earlier in the day, Joint Statement 14th India-EU Summit pointed out that the ongoing efforts of both sides to re- engage actively towards timely relaunching negotiations for a comprehensive and mutually beneficial India-EU BTIA.

He also praised India for responding to the Rohingya refugee crisis.

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According to the Delegation of the European Union to India, "when concluded, this (FTA) would be one of the world's largest trade agreements, touching the lives of 1.7 billion people".

"Both sides recognised the need for ending the violence and restoring normalcy in the Rakhine state without any delay".

"We want to conclude the FTA between India and the European Union once all the conditions are met.by conditions I mean all the necessary circumstances".

A second EIB statement said the lending institution had also agreed to a new partnership with the India-proposed International Solar Alliance "to mobilise finance to develop and deploy affordable solar energy in solar rich countries". "India was amongst the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with the European Economic Community in 1962".

The two sides also signed three pacts, including one on an global solar alliance. After the Summit, also on 6 October, President Juncker will deliver the keynote address at an EU-India Business Forum, which will also be available live on EbS.

The EU has been seeking reduced restrictions on investment in India's retail, insurance and banking sectors and lower import duties on foreign cars, while India wants more opportunities in Europe for its information technology services and business outsourcing.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted that Sushma Swaraj and Mogherini "held productive discussions".

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