India has raised objections to non-trade barriers and market- access barriers to trade by European Union related to technology and regulatory environment.
The commerce and industry ministry on Tuesday raised issues related to non-scientific basis of minimum residue levels for food imports, EU’s proposed ship recycling directive and the need to regulate EU shipping businesses so that toxic wastes are not exported to third world countries.
During the 16th session of ministerial-level Indo-Swedish Joint Commission for Economic, Industrial & Scientific Cooperation (JCEC), India also expressed concern at the EU’s Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) regulation which imposes a further regulatory burden on pharmaceutical companies. India is an acknowledged producer of quality affordable medicines.
Indian companies exporting pharmaceuticals to the EU are already regularly audited and inspected by EU authorities and India views this directive as a trade barrier which will have a negative impact on bilateral trade.
“If we look at our bilateral economic engagement, we can derive satisfaction from the fact that trade has crossed $2.8 billion last year, registering a growth of 40%, given the gloomy economic climate. However, I must flag that we have an adverse trade balance of over $2 billion which we must correct,” said Sharma.
The Swedish side highlighted issues related to the regulatory environment; tariffs and interstate fees, technical trade barriers, including additional testing of products in the vehicles, ICT and other sectors, the importance of a level playing field related to local content issues and the need for improvements in the implementation of the taxation system.
Besides, the Swedish side also emphasised that certain technical trade barriers in the vehicle sector would be resolved if India were to accede to the 1998 UNECE agreement on International Technical Harmonisation.
Sharma expressed hope that Swedish furniture giant Ikea would get green light soon.