NEW DELHI, January 17 – LIVEMINT – Talks between India and the European Union (EU) to conclude a free trade agreement (FTA) have reached their “final, critical stage”, It appears unlikely though that the pact would be signed at the India-EU summit in February as planned. Talks for concluding the ambitious pact started in 2007 but have stalled over contentious issues such as tariffs and government procurement. Indian automobile and wine associations are opposed to significant concessions to European multinational firms, fearing loss of market share. The EU as an economic bloc is India’s largest trade partner. In 2010, it imported goods worth €33.2 billion from India and exported goods worth €34.7 billion. Services exports to India stood at €9.8 billion and imports at €8.1 billion, according to EU figures. – BUSINESS STANDARD – The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) will ask the ruling coalition and the opposition to build a broad consensus on economic reforms and rise above party politics while discussing development. FICCI’s call for unification comes as implementation of reforms such as foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail and Goods and Services Tax are stuck due to differences among political parties, and the Centre and states. In another move, Ficci will put forward a new theme — Empowering India — to brand the economy more effectively in the international market. The World Bank’s Doing Business report brought out in 2011 put India at 134 among 183 countries in ease of doing business. The ranking has declined from 120 in 2008. – ECONOMIC TIMES – The Indian rupee is the world's most undervalued currency, trading at around 61% below its 'actual' price against the dollar, The Economist's latest Big Mac Index has found. The index measures the effective purchasing power of different currencies by looking at how much McDonald's popular burger costs in various countries. The rupee, which has depreciated around 17% against the dollar in the last six months, is even more undervalued than the Chinese Yuan, which was estimated to be 41% undervalued. For long, the US has been mounting pressure on China to appreciate its currency and move to a market-based exchange rate mechanism.