Belgium calls for early signing of India-EU free trade pact
New Delhi, Aug 3 (IANS) Belgium Friday made a strong pitch for an early conclusion of the free trade agreement between India and European Union (EU), saying it would significantly boost two-way trade and investments.
Addressing an interactive session organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) here, Belgium's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders said the agreement would also greatly help countries like Belgium.
An India-EU free trade agreement would benefit Belgium significantly as it is at the heart of Indo-European business flows, Reynders said.
"We do not ask for unilateral concessions from India. We only seek lower tariffs so that tangible progress can be made in trade in services," said Reynders, who is on an official visit to India.
Reynders said the current crisis in the Eurozone has resulted from the "asymmetry inscribed in the European treaties between holding a common currency on the one hand and allowing national governments to conduct their own fiscal policies on the other."
"When some governments let their deficit slip to dangerous heights while others keep a lid on public spending, you get a widening spread of interests rates on different kinds of public debts expressed in a same currency, an unprecedented situation in world history," he said.
"To redress such a situation is made even more difficult when the real economy stagnates and government incomes tend to regress," he added.
Joao Cravinho, European Union ambassador in India, said: "Trade relations between India and Europe are improving year-to-year and trade is balanced on both sides."
"Even during the Eurozone crisis, India-EU trade has continued to grow. Also, the scientific communities of both India and EU are working closely on civil nuclear programme and nano technology. The growing cooperation can be witnessed in the fight against piracy and counterfeit as well," Cravinho said.
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