The broad-based bilateral trade and investment agreement (BTIA) was discussed here during the meeting of Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and European Commission Vice President Joaquin Almunia.
     
EU is keen on the agreement but the ball is in India's court as it has certain issues, Almunia told reporters.
     
"From the EU side, we are ready to reach the final agreement. We are keen and ready for the agreement. There are some points from the Indian side that need to be resolved," he said.
          
According to sources, Sharma conveyed to Almunia that on most of the issues there was a meeting of minds.
     
As per the sources, Sharma informed Alumina that in the agreement, India's offer to EU is the most ambitious so far and now there is a need to have an "incremental embrace".
     
India has done what was required in areas like insurance, retail and geographical indicators, the minister is understood to have said.
     
Sharma demanded easy norms for movement of Indian professionals to EU and data security status for India, according to sources.      

Data-secure status is a big demand of India as its lack has prevented the flow of sensitive information to India, and it is viewed as a big deal for IT industry.
     
It has also impacted the movement of people through restrictions on business development as it restricts transfer of personal data to locations outside EU, unless the importing country ensures adequate data protection.
     
India and the 28-nation bloc EU had failed to reach a consensus on the proposed pact in May in New Delhi. Launched in June 2007, the negotiations for the BTIA have witnessed many hurdles.
     
The EU side has been pressing for hiking FDI cap to 49 percent in the insurance sector. India has expressed its inability to do so without an approval from Parliament.
     
Besides demanding significant duty cuts in automobiles, EU is also seeking tax reduction in wines, spirits and dairy products as well as a strong intellectual property regime.
     
India wants liberalized visa norms for its professionals and market access in services and pharmaceuticals sector. The two-way trade between India and EU stood at USD 91.3 billion in 2010-11.

(Agencies)

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