"We are keen and hopeful that at the next meeting (of India-EU FTA) there will be a positive result," Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said here at the 10th UK India Joint Economic Trade committee (JETCO).

However, she did not elaborate on the date for the next meeting. Last time in May 2013, both the sides failed to bridge substantial gaps on crucial issues, including data security status for IT sector.

Launched in June 2007, the negotiations for the proposed Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) between India and the 27-nation European bloc has witnessed many hurdles with both sides having major differences on crucial issues.

The two sides are yet to iron out issues related to tariffs and movement of professionals but the EU has shown an inclination to restart talks.

Referring to the recent World Bank report on Ease of Doing Business, the Indian Minister said, "the assessment was based on period before May 2014. We have taken enough steps, make cutting edge decisions...the Modi government has removed the number of hurdles. More than 40 rules have been amended during the last eight months."

India has been ranked at 142nd by the report. Further, Sitharaman said that there will not be retrospective taxation.

"The government is committed. We want to provide simplified tax rule," she said, adding India is the place to do business as the country has been witnessing GDP growth of over 5 percent.

The minister said that industry is looking forward for the new Budget to be presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley next month.

India's investment in the UK has been quite upfront and they have been providing jobs there, she said adding "We can see a lot of interest and I am sure this interest will translate into actual business".

There is a lot of interest and enthusiasm and British companies are keen to engage in Bangalore-Mumbai industrial corridor and also to engage in development of smart cities.

Earlier in the day, she had a fruitful meeting with the UK Minister for Business, Innovation and Skill Vince Cable.

Latest News  from Business News Desk