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India, EU FTA gains momentum

BONN: The long-running negotiations between India and the European Union on afree trade agreement (FTA) gained fresh momentum from the ministerial-level talks held in Brussels on Monday, with the two sides airing optimism about making further progress in the coming months. 

Indian and EU trade negotiators agreed to continue their efforts to overcome the remaining issues, which have been blocking an agreement after more than six years of negotiations and shared the view that the talks in Brussels will give a new thrust to move forward. 

The discussions between Union 
Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and EUTrade Commissioner Karel De Gucht at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels "provided a renewed momentum to bring the negotiations forward," a spokesman for the commissioner said. 

Sharma and De Gucht had a "positive meeting," the spokesman said in a brief statement. 

"We look forward to renewed progress in the coming months," he said. 

The latest round of India-EU trade talks were held in the backdrop of a new optimism expressed by both sides that the negotiations on a comprehensive 
Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), which were launched in 2007, could be brought to a successful conclusion before the end of this year.