India and the European Union have deferred a decision on their already long-delayed free-trade proposal, but have agreed on an ambitious nuclear energy project. The two have also decided to expand their cooperation in countering terrorism and in mitigating the effects of climate change.
"Both sides are agreed that a broad-based trade and investment pact is in mutual interest. We have expressed hope that the negotiations can be completed in one year," prime minister Manmohan Singh said at a joint press conference with the EU leaders.
India and the EU launched negotiations in 2007 for a broad-based trade and investment pact, including a free trade agreement (FTA).
"The EU and India are two of the world's major trading partners and we need to get our trade relations right to ensure our economies prosper and protect the vulnerable during these uncertain times. Our joint commitment to ensure the Doha development round is a success for all and to give new impetus to our negotiations for a broad based bilateral trade and investment agreement show we are on the right track," EU trade commissioner Catherine Ashton said.
The EU is already India's largest trading partner, accounting for approximately € 77 billion in trade in goods and services in 2008. The EU accounts for 21 per cent of India's total exports and 16 per cent of India's total imports but India only accounts for 2.4 per cent of EU's total exports and 1.9 per cent of its total imports. The EU has also been the biggest investor in India with a cumulative volume of about € 16 billion since 2000.
The 27-member EU agreed to expand cooperation in civil nuclear programme besides increasing interaction between EU's nodal criminal intelligence agency Europol and the Indian agencies.