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EU for free trade with India

Monday, 23 April 2007, 00:00 Hrs
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Luxembourg: European Union governments Monday gave the go-ahead for free trade deals with India and other key Asian countries in a bid to boost trade and political ties with some of the world's fastest-growing markets.

New trade pacts that focus on eliminating non-tariff barriers to trade, will therefore be negotiated by the European Commission - the EU's executive arm - with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), India and South Korea.

The EU said the bilateral deals did not mean the bloc was losing interest in ensuring a successful conclusion of the global Doha trade talks in the World Trade Organization (WTO).

But with the WTO negotiations in trouble over farm trade liberalization, officials said the EU wanted to keep working on expanding global trade flows through bilateral agreements.

"The new agreements with emerging countries should contribute to improving competitiveness and growth in Europe and globally," said an EU statement.

The goal of the accords would be to ensure a "far-reaching liberalization of trade in goods and services," the EU added.

Seeking to avoid any link-up with Myanmar - which is subject to EU sanctions - it said the free trade deal with ASEAN would be subject to conclusion of separate partnership pacts with individual members of the organization.

A bilateral agreement of this nature is not planned with Myanmar. The EU has also not set a deadline for concluding the trade talks.
Source: IANS
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