India has put off a resumption of talks on a free trade agreement with the European Union over its ban on the sale of 700 pharmaceutical products, officials said Thursday.
The ban on the medicines over alleged manipulation of clinical trials conducted by Hyderabad-based GVK Biosciences is expected to be effective later in August.
The Indian government said it had found no evidence of manipulation and had been in talks with European authorities for more than eight months over the allegations.
“The government has decided to defer the proposed talks between chief negotiators on the India-EU Broadbased Trade and Investment Agreement,” commerce ministry spokesman, Rajinder Chaudhury, said.
According to him, India is disappointed and concerned over the EU action since the pharmaceutical industry is a flagship sector in the country.
Local media citing pharmaceutical industry estimates said India stands to lose up to 1.2 billion dollars worth of exports due to the ban.
EU Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmstrom, told newsmen in Brussels this week that the two sides would hold a stock-tacking meeting in September to see if there was enough “ambition” to restart trade talks.
Negotiations on the free trade pact started in June 2007 but have been facing hurdles with differences on crucial issues.