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Finland hopeful of EU-India trade agreement: Finnish minister


Hyderabad: Finland is hopeful of a free trade agreement between the European Union and India ahead of the EU-India summit in December.

Finland’s Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Paavo Vayrynen told reporters here Thursday that a ministerial meeting scheduled to be held next month would be crucial for FTA. The meeting will tackle the most difficult issues.

Asked whether the agreement would be reached in two months, the minister said it depended on the parties. “We still have to make some compromises but I am optimistic. I believe it is possible,” he said.

Pointing out that all parties in the global trading system were making bilateral and regional agreements, he said the EU had reached such trade agreement with South Korea and it would be ratified soon. “I hope India is going to be the next. There are still some difficulties but we are negotiating,” he added.

The Finnish minister, who was leading a business delegation, said the FTA would be important for the economies and the trade between India and EU.

He was also confident that the bilateral trade between Finland and India would return to 2008 level of one billion Euros in a couple of years.

The two countries doubled trade from 2004 to 2008 but it was hit by the recession.

The minister said 90 Finnish companies had already established themselves in India directly employing 30,000 people and indirectly even more.

Nokia has the largest mobile manufacturing factory in the world in Chennai, which exports mobiles to many countries.

Earlier, the minister met Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K. Rosaiah and discussed various issues of mutual interest for cooperation between Finland and the state.

Some Finnish companies announced their plans to invest in Andhra Pradesh. Kemira Oyj, which focuses on water and fibre management chemistry, announced it would set up water treatment plant in coastal city of Visakhapatnam.

ABB, a leader in power and automation technologies, is already supplying concrete power automation solutions lift irrigation projects in Andhra Pradesh.