Government today rejected suggestions that the five-month ban Swiss giant Nestle ‘s Maggi noodles was in retaliation to EU’s clampdown on marketing of 700 generic drugs for alleged manipulation of clinical trials by GVK Bio. “I don’t think that these two issues are at all linked. Many countries take many decisions in what they deem to be appropriate regulatory steps to protect their population,” Department of Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia told reporters on the sidelines of a programme at the Indian School of Business (ISB) here.
“This is the legitimate right of every country. So whatever action was taken on Nestle was legitimately within the domain of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). “Whatever the EU did in the GVK Bio case, whether we liked it or not, whether we protest, it was what they felt was legitimate.
They represented their case and we represented our case. I don’t think that we can get into tit-for-tat mode,” she said. Regarding the free trade agreement (FTA), she said the EU needs to convince its member countries on some of the issues raised by India to boost two-way commerce and investment.
Teaotia said there have been 16 rounds of discussions up to 2012-13, but there has been a lull since then. “Now after three years, the negotiators met in January. That negotiation was really a stock taking (of) where we stand and what happened in the last three or four years.
“What the EU requested was that there would be another meeting at my level, which was held a few weeks ago. A lot of discussions had happened earlier. There were just a few issues left for discussion.
I think the EU will also agree now that they need to convince all its members,” she explained. On the exports front, she said there has been contraction during the current year on account of global economic slowdown.