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Thursday, October 12, 2006

President Barroso to attend 7th EU-India Summit in Helsinki on 13 October 2006

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News The EU and India will hold their 7th Summit meeting on 13 October in Helsinki. The Summit, hosted by the Finnish Prime Minister, Mr. Matti Vanhanen, on behalf of the Finnish Presidency, will be attended by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner and Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson. Mr. Javier Solana, High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, will also be present.

he Summit agenda will cover EU-India relations including implementation of the Joint Action Plan adopted at the last Summit (Delhi, September 2005) and it will endorse the recommendations of the EU-India High Level Trade Group on ways to further enhance bilateral trade and investment. Issues of global concern scheduled for discussion include effective multilateralism, climate change and energy, counter terrorism, and non-proliferation. Regional issues will also be discussed, including Iran, Burma/Myanmar,and Sri Lanka. The 7th EU-India Summit, which will take place on 13 October 2006 in Helsinki, will take forward the implementation of the EU-India Joint Action Plan launched last year. The EU will: * reaffirm its belief that continued trade liberalisation and market opening can further unlock India’s potential; * reconfirm its commitment to underpin economic reform while helping the country address the most pressing priorities of its development agenda; * seek increased engagement from India on issues of global and regional concern, from climate change to multilateral trade liberalisation, non-proliferation, the promotion of human rights and good governance, peace and regional integration in South Asia, Burma and Iran. An important outcome of the Summit will be the consideration of the EU-India High Level Trade Group report setting out a compelling argument for a new bilateral trade and investment agreement aimed at boosting trade and building on WTO rules. On the EU side, a Council mandate for the Commission to open negotiations will be required before this initiative can be launched formally. Nonetheless, the Summit is expected to make a positive political statement urging both sides to commence preparations for an agreement. Other Summit "deliverables" include the establishment of new consultation mechanisms which broaden the scope of the Partnership, such as the launch of a regular macro-economic policy dialogue and the establishment of a new bilateral Working Group on Hydrocarbons and Natural Gas. The EU will also press for further progress on the negotiation of an EU-India maritime transport agreement (a natural flanking measure to our ambition to expand two-way trade), push for progress on the conclusion of a bilateral horizontal civil aviation agreement and push for the conclusion of a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Employment and Social Affairs. Background EU-India relations have developed at a remarkable speed over the past three years. The last EU-India Summit held in September 2005 in Delhi was the culmination of a gradual upgrading of EU-India relations which started at The Hague Summit, in 2004, with the upgrading of EU-India relations to a “Strategic Partnership”, as recommended by a 2004 Commission Communication on EU-India Relations. The 2005 Summit endorsed a wide-ranging Joint Action Plan giving substance to the Strategic Partnership. The Joint Action Plan covers all aspects of EU-India relations, for which it proposes practical steps to be achieved before 2008, when both parties are expected to review and update the document. The EU is India's largest trading partner accounting for a fifth of India’s trade. EU imports from India came to €18.9bn in 2005 covering mainly textiles and clothing, agricultural products and chemicals. EU exports to India amounted to €21.1bn, of which the majority was machinery, chemical products and gems and jewellery. Since 2001, bilateral trade between the two has grown by 11 % on average. A growing area of EU-India trade is trade in services , which has increased significantly in recent years — in both directions. In 2004, India's exports of services to the EU were valued at €3.8bn, whilst the EU's exports of services to India came to €3.2bn. The EU is also both the leading foreign investor in India and a major destination for Indian investors.

Source :  European Commission




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