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India tells EU to allow free movement of professionals

September 07, 2005 17:04 IST
India today asked the EU to dismantle its non-tariff barriers and provide easy access to its professionals to give a big push to bilateral trade and investment.

Asserting that trade had to play a central role in the partnership between India and EU, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath said there was a need for a liberal regime for free movement of "natural persons".

"The fundamental requirement for such a model is a liberal and easy regime allowing for the free movement of natural persons. I emphasise that I do not speak of immigration, but the need to facilitate professionals to travel if this type of economic engagement is to be properly services," Nath said at the Sixth India-EU summit in New Delhi.

Pointing to the mounting stringency of standards, cumbersome and complex rules and procedures as also frequent use of trade defence instruments, Nath asked the EU to address the issue to provide market access to India's exports.

"While tariffs may be low, the developed world markets are becoming increasingly difficult to penetrate," he said.

"Indian trade and industry circles feel that while Indian economy has liberalised and markets have been opened up, offering new vistas to global trade and industry, reciprocal benefits have not flowed from the developed world to us," he said, adding that EU's anti-dumping actions against Indian products were another area of concern.

Universally, EU's trade defence actions are limited to around half a per cent of EU's global imports, but in India's case, three-and-a-half per cent of its export faced action, Nath said.

Nath also highlighted the market access problem faced by agro and marine export to EU because of sanitary and phytosanitary related legislations and said that not all such standards were in conformity with those prescribed internationally.

Describing India as a big player in global economy, EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said India had much to gain from its integration with the international economy, but it should be prepared to take concerted action for further opening up.

For India to achieve the target of removing poverty, it was important to pump investment in the eocnomy and "barriers to FDI will have to fall if this is to be achieved," he said.

India ranked number one among beneficiaries of the Generalised System of Preferences, he added.

Alan Jhonson, UK Minister for Trade and Industry, said EU placed enormous value to its relationship with India and the Joint Action Plan symbolised the evolution of the relationship.

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