Free trade talks resume between EU and India
Discussions aimed at working out a bilateral free trade agreement between the EU and India will start up again in January, senior EU officials have announced.
The EU's new ambassador to India, Tomasz Kozlowski, told reporters that negotiations will take place next month, and a date is being arranged for the next India-EU summit, which will be held in the first half of the year.
The new talks will essentially be a "stock-taking" exercise following up the initial moves made at the November G20 meeting in Turkey, where EU leaders met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The deal has effectively been placed on hiatus since 2013, after the EU restricted the use of 700 drugs tested in India.
However, the European Commission (EC) said "the contours of a deal" were emerging as far back as February 2013 and that was after fifteen separate rounds of negotiations held since the launch of the initiative in 2007.
The EC said that "substantial progress" had been made before the talks stalled.
At the moment, India does already have a preferential trade status with the EU under the Generalised Scheme of Preferences, although the EC says that India's trade regime and the regulations that govern it are "comparatively restrictive" for EU companies.
Even so, even without any new arrangement being in place, the value of trade between the EU and India grew from EUR28.6bn (USD31bn) in 2003 to EUR72.5bn in 2014, according to the Commission's own figures.