The Indian government is getting more active in seeking out bilateral trade agreements, mainly with other so-called developing countries.

Delhi has signed limited free trade agreements with Sri Lanka (1998) and Thailand (2003) plus a number of preferential trade agreements (tariff concession schemes) with countries/blocs such as Afghanistan, Nepal, Chile and Mercosur. At the end of June 2005, the government signed a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement with Singapore, what many consider India’s first "comprehensive" FTA. India expects to upgrade its pact with Sri Lanka into a similar type of Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. In 2009, India signed an FTA with ASEAN.

Currently, bilateral FTA negotiations are going on with the GCC, Bangladesh, Canada, Colombia, Israel, New Zealand, Uruguay, Venezuela and Mauritius. Since 2007/2008, India commenced FTA talks with industrialised powerhouses Japan, EFTA and the EU. These are the deals that are generating the most controversy and resistance at home.

Further down the line, the government is in various stages of considering talks with Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Korea, Egypt, SACU (Southern African Customs Union), Russia, , Hong Kong and Australia.

India is also part of SAFTA (the South Asia FTA), BIMSTEC (aiming to develop an FTA) and IBSA (the India-Brazil-South Africa triangle aiming to develop a trilateral South-South FTA).

India’s growing business community is lobbying for an India-US FTA, but for the moment Washington and Delhi are still building their bilateral relations through a possible investment treaty as well as smaller sectoral deals.

last update: May 2012


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  • 19-Aug-2015 The Economic Times Government mulling strong model BIT to revise investment pacts
    Indian government had decided to come out with a new framework after several multinational firms invoked bilateral investment protection agreements.
  • 17-Jul-2015 Tuoi Tre News Indian firms advised to increase investment in Vietnam to leverage trade pacts
    Indian companies should set up shop in Vietnam in order to take advantage of Hanoi’s upcoming trade deals with Europe and the US, the government says.
  • 13-Jul-2015 Indian Express Riding the Pacific trade winds
    Labour, environment and IPR standards in the Trans-Pacific Partnership will influence future Indo-US agreements.
  • 10-Jul-2015 Financial Express India: Exclude steel from free-trade pacts, say wary manufacturers
    Indian steelmakers have urged the government to keep steel out of the purview of any future free-trade agreements and also review the existing pacts to ensure that their interests are safeguarded.
  • 9-Jul-2015 Hindu Business Line India moves to gauge gains of a free trade pact with Eurasian union
    Moving swiftly on its decision to consider a free trade agreement with the newly formed Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union, India has initiated the process of setting up a joint study group to study its feasibility.
  • 6-Jul-2015 Times of India Government looks to rework FTA strategy
    India is set to rework the way it does free trade agreements (FTAs), moving to a more liberal regime on routing of third-country goods, as it revives its push for bilateral deals to corner a greater share of the export market.
  • 22-Jun-2015 Diamond World Govt contemplates keeping gold jewellery out of all FTAs through re-negotiations
    The move is expected to act as a damage control after gold jewellery from third countries under the India-Thailand FTA and the India-ASEAN FTA has flooded the Indian markets
  • 19-Jun-2015 Fibre2Fashion India to sign FTA with EEU
    India will sign a free trade agreement with Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, according to media reports.
  • 4-Jun-2015 ‘Negotiators working overtime to seal India-Australia FTA’
    Indian and Australian negotiators were working overtime for the proposed free trade agreement, Australian High Commissioner to India Patrick Michael Suckling said here on Thursday.
  • 28-May-2015 Live Mint Why India is not joining trade in services agreement
    Even though India has been insisting on negotiating services agreements in all ongoing bilateral trade agreements, including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, to tap its rapidly growing young skilled workforce, it has so far desisted from joining a plurilateral trade in services agreement (Tisa) being negotiated among 24 countries.
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  • Forum against FTAs
    The Forum is formed by trade unions, people movements and civil society organizations to campaign against the impact of free trade agreements on labour and livelihood rights of people in India.
  • FTA Watch - India
    A weekly digest on India’s Free Trade Agreements and alternatives to free trade, produced by Intercultural Resources
  • India FDI Watch
    India FDI Watch is building awareness and facilitating grassroots action to prevent the take-over of India’s retail sector by corporations.
  • India’s current engagement in RTAs
    Webpage maintained by India’s Ministry of Commerce