More reports on: Pharmaceuticals

Merkel pushes FTA as EU continues to block drug imports from India

06 October 2015

On the second day of her India tour, German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi the merits of a free trade agreement with the European Union and pressed for early resumption of FTA negotiations.

''What did happen today was a prime minister-chancellor level discussion on merits of resuming the negotiations and taking them forward,'' foreign secretary S Jaishankar told the media after the conclusion of the third Intergovernmental Consultations between India and Germany.

Germany is India's largest trading partner in Europe with German investments having crossed $8 billion last year, said Martin Ney, German Ambassador to India, last week.

But, with the EU blocking exports of about 700 generic drugs from India, any resumption of FTA talks would only be a wasteful exercise.

India has taken up the issue of restrictions placed by the EU on the sale of drugs from India - a move which India views as unwarranted and retrograde by India.

''It is our hope that this matter (dealing with Indian drugs exports to Europe) will be looked at fairly and sensibly. Hopefully it will not be an impediment to the free trade agreement,'' foreign secretary Jaishankar said.  

Jaishankar, however, emphasised that Monday's meeting was not a trade negotiation. He also declined to give a time frame for trade negotiations to conclude.

''The sticking points and details will come when negotiations resume. Today there was a broad review of the state of our relations including trade relations and the merits of resuming the negotiations on the free trade Agreement were assessed by the Prime Minister and the Chancellor. It was kind of a big picture view of why we should go forward,'' he said.

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