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India seeks Poland's help for removal of EU trade curbs

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

India today sought help from Poland, which holds the European Union Presidency, for resolving trade obstacles for Indian agri exports to 27 EU countries.

The issue was taken up at a meeting here between Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and visiting Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski.

"The EU can play an important role in resolving several of our market access issues with the EU including in respect of arbitrary SPS (Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary) standards and CCC (chemical residues) in grapes, honey, rice, fish and fishery products," a Commerce Ministry statement said after the meeting.

According to industry experts, Indian agri exports to EU face several problems on account of use of some chemicals to preserve the products.

Last year, European authorities had rejected Indian grape and honey consignments over the issue of presence of a chemical and heavy metals in the products.

The two ministers also reviewed the progress of the India-EU free trade pact, officially known as Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA).

"The India-EU BTIA negotiations are in their final leg," Sharma said.

Thirteen rounds of negotiations have been held since June 2007, when the talks were launched.

"Both the sides have intensified negotiations with a view to closing negotiations in 2011," he said.

The negotiations cover some contentious issues like intellectual property rights, government procurement and competition policy.

The EU is India’s largest trading partner; bilateral trade in 2009-10 aggregated to $75 billion.

On bilateral trade between India and Poland, Sharma during the meeting said that it is growing consistently during the last couple of years.

The two-way commerce stood at $771 million during the three quarters of 2010-11.

Poland is a major supplier of railway equipment, axles and rails, turbines and diesel engines to India.

India’s exports to Poland mainly includes transport equipment, machinery, pharmaceuticals and chemicals and textiles.

Imports include coke and coal, machinery and equipments, iron and steel, machine tools, chemicals and project goods.

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First Published: Mon, July 11 2011. 15:17 IST