labels: world trade organisation, trade
EU official moots trade, investment pact with India ahead of WTO talksnews
17 February 2007
New Delhi: European Union commissioner for external relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner says India and the EU must push for a strong bilateral trade and investment pact even as they continue to play a crucial role to conclude the current round of global trade talks.

Ferrero-Waldner told the media ahead of a five-day visit to India that every effort should be made by New Delhi and Brussels to ensure the success of the ongoing talks at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Her reference was to the efforts made at Davos, Switzerland, to revive the global trade talks by commerce ministers of around 30 countries, last month. The talks stalled last July over sharp differences between the developed and the developing world.

"We think we also have to show leadership in WTO because I think WTO is now in a crucial moment and the European Union and India should play a very important role here," Ferrero-Waldner said.

She also said that EU alone could not make compromises and developing countries, led by India and Brazil, must show some movement forward, especially in areas like market access.

She said that the EU had already made major subsidy cuts, "whereas Americans still have to do a lot more. But all countries have to compromise - means also India. In fact, India has an important role to play."

She said strong ties with India must also result in a trade and investment pact, even as they push for multilateral trade."I think our willingness to move towards negotiations of a bilateral, broad-based trade and investment agreement will complement our commitment to multilateral trade," she said.

During her visit, Ferrero-Waldner is scheduled to meet prime minister Manmohan Singh, foreign affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee and commerce minister Kamal Nath.

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EU official moots trade, investment pact with India ahead of WTO talks