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EC-India Joint Commission meets in Brussels

The eighth session of the EC-India Joint Commission, the first since the coming into force in August 1994 of the new EU-India Cooperation Agreement on partnership and development, took place in Brussels on 10-11 October 1994. The two delegations agreed on the broad principles...

The eighth session of the EC-India Joint Commission, the first since the coming into force in August 1994 of the new EU-India Cooperation Agreement on partnership and development, took place in Brussels on 10-11 October 1994. The two delegations agreed on the broad principles of a strategy for economic and development cooperation up to the year 2000. This strategy focuses on continued assistance from the Community to India's development efforts, particularly in the social sectors such as primary education, health and employment and mutually beneficial economic cooperation. The Joint Commission took into account the results of the latest Working Group on Trade and Economic Cooperation. Among the new areas of cooperation identified, besides the ongoing programmes on energy management and standards, were maritime transport and port management. Other significant areas of cooperation identified were technical support for quality up-grading of agro and marine products and activities to disseminate information on existing and emerging health and phytosanitary requirements to the agro-industrial sector in India. The Joint Commission recognized the essential role of joint ventures in the transfer of know-how and technology. In this context, the EU is setting up a European Business Information Centre in Bombay and a Technology Information Centre in New Delhi. It was also agreed to organize sector-specific investment workshops in Europe for the infrastructure sector. In addition, activities would be undertaken to make medium-sized European firms aware of the new policy framework and opportunities in India. The Joint Commission agreed that an ad-hoc working party would be set up to coordinate S&T cooperation under the Community's Fourth Framework Programme and to consider a separate memorandum of understanding on S&T cooperation (which would also cover scientific exchanges in the private sector). In addition to the environment, agriculture and health, S&T cooperation in other sectors would be considered on a project-by-project basis in areas of mutual interest. In the area of development cooperation, the Joint Commission noted that the cumulative total of the Community's financial and technical assistance since 1976 had reached over ECU 1.6 billion. A noteworthy current programme is the Community's decision to extend sectoral support of ECU 150 million to primary education in India, the largest such programme support undertaken by the Community in any third country. The Joint Commission noted the agreement between the two sides in the latest Working Group meeting. This would provide a sound basis for more efficient project identification, preparation and implementation and speed up the disbursement of available funds. The Joint Commission decided to reconstitute its two principal subsidiary bodies, the Working Groups on Trade and Economic Cooperation and on Development Cooperation and to set up other working parties within them if necessary, e.g. on S&T cooperation. It was also agreed that the Joint Commission would be held on a regular basis, alternately in New Delhi and Brussels.

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India