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Sensex gains 139 pts; at 7-month high on fund inflows

News4u - Business Desk : The BSE benchmark index Sensex on Tuesday climbed to a seven-month high by adding 139 points on fund-based buying in bluechip, led by Reliance Industries, amid a firming global trend.

The 30-share barometer, which had gained 135.36 points on Friday, added another 139.26 points, or 0.76 per cent to 18,428.61, touching the level last seen on 27th July.

The broad-based Nifty of the National Stock Exchange closed above 5,600 mark level by rising 42.85 points, or 0.77 per cent, to 5,607.15 on heavy inflow of foreign funds.

Brokers said investor confidence regained strength on firming global trend after European finance ministers reached an agreement on the USD 170 billion bailout package for Greece to shield from sovereign debt crisis.

The most heaviest on the benchmark, Reliance Industries, spurted by 2.92 per cent to Rs 841.80 and power equipment major BHEL rose to a two-month high by adding 4.78 per cent to Rs 317.,95 on reports of some measures by the government to help domestic power companies.

Foreign investors bought a net USD 444 million of Indian stocks in the two days to 16th February, taking their investment this year to USD 4.9 billion, according to the SEBI data.

Among other gainers, Tata Steel surged 2.79 per cent, followed by State Bank of India, Bharti Airtel and ONGC.

The realty sector index gained the most by 4.34 per cent followed by consumer durable index.

sensex-stockup

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25 EU Nations to Sign Treaty to Stop Overspending

News4u-News Desk-EU nations are struggling to agree how to bankroll the fight against climate change, with little enthusiasm to commit to the huge sums poor nations will need, ahead of a key week of talks, a draft text shows.
The question has become vital two months ahead of a world climate summit in Copenhagen in December where leaders hope to thrash out a deal to battle global warming for years to come.
The European Union sees itself in the forefront of the global battle, but insiders are becoming less optimistic that the 27 member states, and the wider world, will be able to agree on how to fund it.
“The Copenhagen deal is hanging in the balance,” British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has warned.
“It’s a real danger that the world will not come together in the way that is necessary to agree on an ambitious and comprehensive deal in December,” he added.
EU nations have agreed among themselves to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent in 2020, from 1990 levels, and by 30 per cent if the rest of the world agrees to do so.
However Europeans are not seeing those targets matched in many other countries and their pride in taking the lead is becoming increasingly tempered by frustration that their ambitions are not being embraced elsewhere.

News4u-News Desk-All European Union countries except Britain and the Czech Republic agreed Monday to sign a new treaty designed to stop overspending in the eurozone and put an end to the bloc’s crippling debt crisis, while EU leaders also pledged to stimulate growth and employment.

The new treaty, known as the fiscal compact, was agreed at a summit of European leaders in Brussels on Monday.

It includes strict debt brakes and makes it more difficult for deficit sinners to escape sanctions.

The 17 countries in the eurozone hope the tighter rules will restore confidence in their joint currency and convince investors that all of them will get their debts under control.

“We have a majority of 25 that will now sign up to the fiscal compact,” Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said Monday night after the summit of European heads of government in Brussels.

Although the new rules only apply to the 17 euro states, the currency union wants to get broad support from the other EU states, in hopes the accord will eventually be integrated into the main EU treaty.

Britain had said in December it wouldn’t sign the new treaty. Reinfeldt said the Czech Republic didn’t sign because of parliamentary procedural problems.

“I don’t want to stand in the way of what they think they should do,” British Prime Minister David Cameron said of the other countries. “But this is not an EU treaty because I vetoed that.”

Leaders at the summit also promised to stimulate growth and create jobs across the region, an acknowledgment that their exclusive focus on austerity has had painful side effects.

“Yes we need discipline, but we also need growth,” said Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm.

The leaders pledged to offer more training for young people to ease their transition into the work force, to deploy unused development funds to create jobs, to reduce barriers to doing business across the EU’s 27 countries and ensure that small businesses have access to credit.

However there was no offer of any new financial stimulus.

“We must do more to get Europe out of the crisis,” the leaders said in a statement.

Barroso said that there is still €82 billion ($107.5 billion) in development funds that have yet to be allocated that small and medium businesses can use for various purposes, including as guarantees to get funding from banks.

He also said the Commission will dispatch action teams to the eight countries where youth unemployment is the highest and help fund apprenticeships and young startups.

Europe’s debt crisis has put the continent and its leaders in an almost impossible situation. While they have to slash their deficits to reassure the financial markets and investors, the crisis has also sent unemployment soaring. Many analysts, politicians and trade unions think that only government spending can restart growth.

Overall, 23 million people are jobless across the EU, 10 percent of the active population. In Spain, unemployment has soared to nearly 23 percent and closed in on 50 percent for those under age 25, leaving more than 5 million people out of work as the country slides toward recession.

Even the most influential countries in Europe, which are generally better off, are suffering. The French government was forced Monday to revise its growth forecast for the year from 1 percent down to just 0.5 percent.

While the leaders focused on walking the line between reining in spending and stimulating growth, the elephant in the room was Greece.

Greece and its bondholders have come closer to a deal to significantly reduce the country’s debt and pave the way for it to receive a much-needed €130 billion ($170 billion) bailout.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Monday he hoped a final agreement on Greece would be achieved “in the coming days,” either at a special meeting of eurozone finance ministers or leaders.

Negotiators for Greece’s private creditors said Saturday that a debt-reduction deal could become final within the next week. If the agreement works as planned, it could help Greece avoid a catastrophic default, which would be a blow to Europe’s already weak financial system.

EU Nations

EU Nations

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REACH hitting Indian chemical exports to EU: Govt

News4u-Business Desk- New Delhi, The government today said that a regulation, REACH, by the European Union on chemicals has hit India’s exports, besides increasing transaction cost.

“Yes sir,” Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Jyotiraditya Scindia told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply to a question whether REACH threatens 24 per cent of India’s chemical exports by pushing up the cost per exporter per chemical by Rs 50-60 lakh.

He, however, said that the cost per chemical varies from Rs 3.25 lakh to Rs 80 lakh depending upon the hazardous nature of chemical, the volume of chemical and the number of registrants for the chemical, among others.

The Registration Evaluation Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical Substances (REACH) aims to improve protection of human health and the environment from the risks of chemicals, while enhancing the competitiveness of the EU chemicals industry.

REACH

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Indians may get 20,000 visas under a deal with EU

News4u-News Desk- London, (PTI) Indians may get upto 20,000 UK visas a year under a deal it is negotiating with the European Union and in return India has put forward an annual 4 billion pounds trade with the EU, media reported today.

Under the proposed deal, Britain will have to accept thousands of workers in exchange for potentially lucrative export deals, despite figures showing that the number of unemployed in the UK stood at 2.5 million, The Sunday Telegraph reported.

Negotiations for the EU-India free trade agreement have seen New Delhi lobbying for between 35,000 and 50,000 visas a year across the 27-member states, the report said.

Quoting sources, the report said Indians wanted Britain to give between 15,000 and 20,000 visas to its citizens every year, compared with 3,000 for France and 7,000 for Germany.

Only highly-skilled workers would be eligible for the visas.

visa

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2-day EU summit closes, highlights global ambitions

News4u - News Desk : A two-day European Union summit closed today with leaders hailing progress in the 27-state bloc’s relations with strategic international partners the United States, China and India.

National leaders also decided today to grant membership candidate status to Montenegro and praised global moves to combat climate change at a conference in Cancun, Mexico, earlier this month.

Yesterday night they pledged to do “whatever is required” to defend the shared euro currency as markets increase pressure on weaker euro economies such as Portugal following Greece and Ireland seeking EU-IMF bailouts.

“The European Union is not only an economic union and a trade bloc, but also an important geopolitical partner,” said EU president Herman Van Rompuy. “We are clearly moving in the right direction. AFP

PM at EU Summit

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India, EU agree to give market access in services

News4u - News Desk : India and the EU on Friday agreed to give each other “real additional” market in services in the proposed FTA and retain flexibility for Indian pharmaceuticals to export off-patent drugs as provided in a WTO agreement.

The Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), expected to be concluded in the few months, seeks to open bilateral commerce not only in merchandise but also in services like insurance.

Faced with economic troubles, the 27-nation EU bloc has been wanting India to liberalise its insurance sector and open the multi-brand retail to foreign investment.

Liberalisation in these two areas are among the key demands of the European Union.

“The EU and India agree that the final outcome should provide real additional market opportunities for both sides. This will be reflected in offers which will be exchanged by early date,” a joint report on the state of play of negotiations for BTIA said.

The joint report was presented to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso at the EU-India Summit in Brussels.

It said the good progress has been reached on reducing tariffs and the revised offers would give advantage to India.

It was made clear that India’s concerns on flexibility to its USD 22 billion pharmaceutical industry should be addressed.

The Trade Related Intellectual Rights (TRIPS) agreement of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), provides right to member countries to manufacture and export off-patent generic drugs.

However, the EU had been demanding that a stricter regime be applied in the India-EU bilateral pact.

The Indian industry was opposed to this demand and the government had assured them that the domestic policy space would not be compromised.

Pledging to speed up the negotiations to conclude them in the spring of 2011, the report said “both sides have agreed to intensify work on all pending areas and meet at the chief negotiators level on at least a monthly basis”.

The areas on which consensus is yet to emerge relate to environment, transparency and government procurement.

The EU is facing pressure from some of its members to include environment related issues in the trade agreement, which India is resisting.

The joint report said that the final outcome would address concerns of the two sides.

“Discussions on sustainable development are ongoing to identify the basis for agreement on the this issue taking in to the account the interest and concerns of the both the sides,” it said.

Farmers, traders to be protected in India-EU trade pact: PM

Agreeing to resist protectionism in global trade, India and the EU today announced reaching the final stage of a trade and investment opening pact, billed as one of the largest bilateral agreements.

On concerns that the Broad Based Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) with the 27-nation EU could hurt the interests of Indian farmers and traders, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the pact would have enough safeguards to protect them.

“There are concerns among small farmers and shopkeepers. I am confident we will build enough safeguards to protect their essential interests,” Singh said at a joint news conference, along with the European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso at the end of a day long EU-India Summit.

A joint declaration issued afterwards said that the two sides “agreed on the contours of a final package, and reaffirmed the importance of an ambitious and balanced” conclusion of BTIA to enhance their about Euro 56 billion bilateral trade.

The leaders decided to speed up negotiations so that BTIA could be concluded in the spring of 2011.

“We are at the last stages of this complex exercise. We have directed our officials to redouble their efforts to reach a conclusion by the spring of 2011. Finalisation of a balanced agreement will bring enormous benefits to both sides,” Singh said.

He further said that the two sides should take lead in avoiding protectionist trends, keeping markets open and encouraging the free flow and movement of people.

India has concerns over restrictions of movement of people in several European countries like the UK and Germany.

It’s apprehensions were partly addressed in the joint statement.

“Recognising the important implications of the movement of people for India and EU, they (leaders) agreed to explore initiatives that could lead to a regular, comprehensive and structured dialogue on migration issues, with a view to deepening cooperation in this field,” it said.

Recalling the G-20 commitment for concluding a multilateral trade opening deal under WTO, the statement said the leaders “affirmed their commitment to resist all forms of protectionist measures”.

Indian trade in goods and services has been facing protectionist measures like seizure of off-patent generic drugs in some European countries and restrictions on professional visas in the US.

eu-india summit

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Anand Sharma in Geneva to assess ongoing WTO talks

News4u-Business Desk-

Indian trade negotiators, headed by Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, will do a reality check on Wednesday in Geneva on long-drawn Doha talks for a multi-lateral agreement for opening the world trade.

“He (Sharma) has gone there to see how close we are from concluding this (Doha) Round,” Joint Secretary in the Commerce Minister Amar Sinha said on the sidelines of a FICCI function in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Sinha said the Commerce and Industry Minister would meet, in Geneva, Director General of the World Trade Organisation Pascal Lamy and interlocutors of different negotiating groups.

He said India is taking initiative, ahead of G-20 Summit, to infuse urgency in concluding the WTO negotiations which began in 2001.

Though no breakthrough is expected during Sharma’s visit to the headquarters of the World Trade Organisation, “some movement is taking place”, in the backdrop of slight improvement in the attitude of the US, which had so far shunned the WTO talks in the Obama administration.

Senior US trade officials, including chief negotiator for agriculture, Isi Siddiqui, had recently visited India and met Commerce Ministry officials as well as industry representatives.

Developed and developing economies have locked horns on the level of opening and protecting markets through tariff cuts and subsidies, mainly in agriculture.

The issue of protection to poor farmers in developing countries in the event of open trade has remained a priority for India.

However, the rich nations, particularly the US have been insisting that emerging economies like India, China and Brazil should open their markets.

Siddiqui had indicated the Doha negotiations, which are running into the 10th year, may stretch into 2012.

India had made efforts in September 2009 to re-energise the Doha talks by convening a ministerial meeting in New Delhi.

Besides, the country has also been raising the issue in the G-20 summits. The issue would come up again in the next summit in Seoul in November.

Sharma said leaders of the Group of 20, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, are likely to raise concerns over long delay in opening the world trade through a Doha deal.

Different studies have said that fragile global economic recovery would get a boost if the world trade was liberalised.

According to the International Monetary Fund, the world economy may increase by 4.8 percent this year, led by the emerging economies.

However, economic expansion in developed nations remain uncertain, analysts felt.

Commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma

Commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma

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Balkan nations should have a clear path to EU: US

News4u-News Desk-WASHINGTON: The United States says the future of all Balkan countries should lie in the European Union.

The comments by Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon, in a conference call with reporters Friday, come ahead of a trip to the Balkans by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton Oct. 11-14.

Clinton will meet with leaders in Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo. She also will be in Brussels for a meeting of NATO foreign and defense ministers. She plans to discuss the Balkans with EU leaders there.

Gordon said Clinton would tell European officials “that we believe that the path to European Union membership must be clear to these countries.”ap

US FLAG

US FLAG

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EU approves free trade pact with SKorea

News4u-Business Desk-The European Union (EU) approved a free trade agreement with South Korea, clearing the way for the accord to be signed in the near future, diplomats have said in Brussels.

Foreign ministers from the 27-member bloc agreed to allow the trade pact to take provisional effect on July 1st, 2011, as Italy dropped its veto in return for a six-month delay to the treaty’s start.

South Korea and the EU are expected to sign the pact at a summit in Brussels on 6th October.

The treaty will come into full effect once EU member states, the European Parliament and South Korea have ratified it.

The two sides initialed the free trade deal in September last year, three months after concluding negotiations.

Last month, South Korea’s Cabinet approved the accord.

The pact must be ratified by South Korea’s parliament, EU member states and the European Parliament.

Under the accord, Seoul and Brussels will eliminate or phase out tariffs on 96 percent of EU goods and 99 percent of South Korean goods within three years after the accord is put into effect.

They have also agreed to abolish tariffs on most industrial goods within five years after the deal goes into effect.

The accord permits duty drawbacks, which allow refunds for tariffs levied on parts used by manufacturers to make products such as cars when the final product is exported.

But the deal also includes a provision that caps refundable tariffs should there be “dramatic changes in foreign outsourcing” within five years of the accord taking effect.

On the issue of the rules of origin, both sides agreed to limit the amount of foreign products at 45 percent of total goods.

In the case of auto parts and others, the level is set at 50 percent.

Belgium's Foreign Minister Steven Vanackere speaks during a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels

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Council authorises signature of EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement

News4u-News Desk-EU-The European Commission welcomes today’s decision of the Foreign Affairs Council to authorise the signature of the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement. This is a key step towards making this deal a reality.

This agreement is the most ambitious trade agreement ever negotiated by the EU. It breaks new ground in delivering market access for European companies as well as the way regulatory issues are addressed. And it will bring significant economic benefits. We expect it to double our trade with Korea in medium term and to boost jobs and growth. The FTA is our first deal with an Asian partner. It is a signal that the EU is open for business.

Today’s decision has authorised the signature and provisional application of this deal. We expect to sign the agreement with our Korean partners at the EU-Korea Summit on 6 October in Brussels. The Council has also agreed that the date of provisional application shall be 1 July 2011, provided that the European Parliament has given its consent to the FTA and that the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council implementing the bilateral safeguard clause of the EU-Korea FTA is in force.

Belgium's Foreign Minister Steven Vanackere speaks during a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels

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