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India, France to hold finmin level talks to boost trade

Two sides having useful discussions on bilateral, regional, international issues of mutual interest

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Pushing for India-EU trade pact to boost their economic ties, New Delhi and Paris today decided to hold finance ministry-level talks every year for promoting bilateral trade and investment.

After a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and visiting French President Francois Hollande, the two sides in a joint statement emphasised on further expanding their engagements in trade and investment.

The two sides had a detailed and useful discussions on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest, it said.

To expand trade and investment, they decided "to promote an ambitious and balanced Free Trade Agreement between India and the EU based on reciprocity and mutual benefit which will boost our bilateral economic relationship".

India and the 27-nation bloc European Union (EU) are engaged in talks for trade pact known as Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) since 2007. The talks were to conclude in 2011, but differences between the two sides on the level of opening of the market have delayed the conclusion of trade negotiations.

The BTIA is meant to open Indian and European markets for trade in goods, services and investment.

The joint statement further said that India and France decided "to establish an annual bilateral dialogue between the two Finance Ministries on economic and financial issues".

Trade between India and France was valued at USD 8.89 billion in 2011-12.

In a statement, the Prime Minister said "both President Hollande and I agreed on the need to reinvigorate our bilateral economic engagement by harnessing the enormous synergies between our two economies".

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First Published: Thu, February 14 2013. 17:48 IST