India, EU finalise give-&-take in FTA Negotiations for the ambitious India-EU free trade agreement (FTA) is on in â€œfull steamâ€ and in the final stages of â€œgive-and-takeâ€, even as the euro zone crisis has gripped all its 27 member-countries. Both sides recently concluded technical negotiations on trade in services, the main sticking point. The two now need to close the gaps that still remain pertinent to tariffs and procurement. India has demanded significant relaxation for the movement of its workers and professionals in services, which would entail liberalisation in EUâ€™s Schengen visa regime, according to officials in the ministry of commerce and industry here. â€œThe deal can be signed tomorrow if the EU moves slightly from its position. The EU is a $16-trillion market, so we would want significant opportunities for our professionals and market access for our goods,â€ a senior official from the ministry who is part of the talks told Business Standard. So far, 13 rounds of formal negotiations have taken place since the launch in June 2007. The last round was from March 31 to April 6 here. While the EU wants to gain more access into Indian markets, India is looking at the EU as an important destination for its information technology professionals, architects, engineers, teachers and chefs. â€œThis is a very important deal for the EU and India. There are some important issues and only an ambitious agreement will bring significant benefits. But the EU and India are working with full steam ahead to find solutions acceptable to both sides. Intense negotiations will, therefore, continue over the coming months to effectively solve the remaining core issues between now and the EU-India Summit scheduled for February 10,â€ said John Clancy, EUâ€™s trade spokesman, last week. A statement released in Brussels also indicated the talks are currently in a â€œcrucial phaseâ€, with both sides seeking a mutually beneficial outcome. It also said both sides would be meeting often, alternatively in Delhi and in Brussels, to reach an agreement before the Summit, which takes place annually. Expert-level negotiations on non-tariff barriers would take place during the week of November 21, while chief trade negotiators from the EU and India would meet on December 5. Thereafter, senior officials would look into furthering the talks in the middle of next month. The statement released by the EU also mentioned that the deal, once implemented, would result in gains to the tune of Â¤5 billion for India and Â¤4 billion for the EU. Last month, the commerce department had sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singhâ€™s intervention in stepping up the talks. In October, the EUâ€™s director general for trade, Jean-Luc Demarty, had met commerce secretary Rahul Khullar on this issue and had asked to India to wrap up the talks during the summit. The EU had been unrelenting on demands for more tariff concessions in Indiaâ€™s automobile sector, which has resulted in severe opposition from manufacturers in India, who protest that cheaper imports here would mean massive job losses. Similar problems have arisen with the wines and spirits sector. The EU has also demanded stronger implementation of intellectual property protection norms, that might affect the countryâ€™s generic drugs industry, which exports 67 per cent of its produce. As much as 90 per cent of the bilateral trade in goods and services would be covered under the pact with the EU, Indiaâ€™s largest trading partner.