MUMBAI, April 23 The European Union is ready to
make an "ambitious" offer on temporary work visas for Indian
professionals to help finalise a delayed free trade agreement,
the EU's chief negotiator said on Tuesday, and called on India
Negotiators had originally hoped to seal the deal in 2012,
but talks stalled over issues including access for Indian
workers to Europe's labour market.
At stake is an agreement that would create one of the
world's largest free-trade zones by population - covering 1.8
billion, or more than a quarter, of the world's people.
"I can tell you that we are very conscious that for India it
will not be possible to conclude an agreement unless there are
improved conditions for Indian highly qualified professionals to
provide temporary basis service in Europe. And we are ready to
make quite an ambitious offer," said negotiator Ignacio Garcia
The EU has been asking for greater market access in auto,
wines and spirits while India wants liberalised visa norms for
"In the same way we are expecting India to take some
politically difficult decisions which are important for Europe.
We are also ready to take politically important decisions which
are important for India," Bercero said.
"It is very clear that for us issues like cars or wines and
spirits are extremely important in terms of our export interest
to India. Besides, we believe that there is certainly enough
room in India to allow cheaper European imports of those
products in the Indian market."
(Reporting by Shamik Paul, writing by Suvashree Dey Choudhury;
Editing by Frank Jack Daniel)