Fifteen European business organizations issued a joint statement Friday, calling for both the European Union (EU) and India to speed up free trade agreement (FTA) talks towards an ambitious trade agreement.
The statement was issued ahead of the EU-India Summit slated on Monday.
The statement called for a FTA that would include the elimination of tariffs, technical barriers, as well as the removal of all export restriction or duties on raw materials.
It also called for guarantees on market access for goods and services, investment protection, public procurement including removal of local contents requirements, a meaningful intellectual property chapter, competition and sustainable development.
"We strongly believe that in order to keep pace with the increasing importance of bilateral trade, the EU and India have to create an even more business-friendly environment by removing trade barriers and further opening up markets," said Philippe Vandendaele, Managing Director of Public Affairs of Foreign Trade Association, one key initiator of the statement.
The value of EU-India trade in goods and services grew from 28.6 billio euros (37.3 billion U.S. dollars) in 2003 to 98 billion euros in 2011. The EU investment in India also tripled during the same period from 759 million euros to 3 billion.
However, both sides witnessed some serious trade and regulatory barriersthat hindered further growth of trade.
"Many studies show that the removal of those obstacles through a trade agreement would generate important gains for both parties." The statement said.