India and France committed to restart trade talks stalled on GVK row

The governments of India and France have agreed to make up for lost time and said this week they remain committed to restarting free trade negotiations between New Delhi and the European Union that have been stalled for nearly three years.

The most recent hiatus in talks came about when Belgium banned more than 700 drugs made by GVK Biosciences, saying the drugs did not meet EU standards. India chafed at the ruling, saying the drugs in question were not meant for the Belgian market and that blocking transshipments was out of line.

The two sides agreed late last year to put the GVK issue on the sidelines in order to get the talks restarted and the ongoing visit this week by French President Francois Hollande led the two sides to issue their affirmation that the talks should go ahead.

French President Francois Hollande

France and India said in a joint statement that they "underlined the importance of the dialogue on trade issues through the India-France Joint Commission, as well as their strong commitment to the European Union-India Broad Based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA)," according to a report by the Financial Express newspaper.

The statement on renewed talks covered a range of issues in addition to the pharma dispute and includes the EU demand for lower duties on autos, wines and spirits, and India's demand for greater movement of professionals, according to the report.

- here's the report from the Financial Express