India, Spain emphasise on need for EU-India FTA

Madrid, May 31 (PTI) India and Spain today emphasised on the need for restarting negotiations for the EU-India Broad- based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), as President Mariano Rajoy pressed for “solid progress” on the proposed pact after holding talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The importance of making progress on the pact was highlighted in a joint statement issued after Prime Minister Modi, the first Indian premier to visit Spain since 1992, met the European country’s top leaders here.

Modi and Rajoy underlined the importance of EU India relations and the need to deepen the existing EU India dialogues, the statement said.

“They acknowledged the positive results of 2016 EU India Summit in March 2016, which marked a new momentum in the EU India relations. They reconfirmed their commitment to the EU- India Agenda for Action 2020 and to the development of cooperation in the areas of foreign and security policy, trade and investment, global issues, natural movement of persons and people to people contacts,” it said.

The two leaders addressed the shared interest of the two sides to further engage on the India-EU BTIA and expressed the need to restart negotiations soon.

President Rajoy welcomed the efforts of the Indian government to provide a positive business environment in India for foreign companies and to further international investment, for which, adequate protection of investments and legal certainty are instrumental.

He also emphasised the importance that Spain attaches in the coming months to “solid progress” on the India-EU BTIA, which may facilitate further Spanish and European investments in India, the statement said.

President Rajoy explained Spain’s position in the EU, as a country fully committed with the European Project, and with the main policies and instruments of the European Union.

Prime Minister Modi called for active participation of Spanish companies in India’s ambitious Smart Cities projects.

Both leaders also welcomed the holding of an India-Spain Business Summit in India in the later half of 2017 to promote trade and investment cooperation between the two countries.

The talks on BTIA, launched in June 2007, have been stalled since May, 2013, when both sides failed to bridge substantial gaps on crucial issues, including data security status for the IT sector.

The European Union, earlier this year, had pressed India to extend by six months its bilateral investment pacts with EU-member countries, saying absence of the treaties could adversely impact trade ties and FTA talks.

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