The European Union and India launched negotiations on a bilateral free trade and investment agreement in June 2007. However, between the governments, a number of controversies have been plaguing the talks. Delhi wants Brussels to relax its stringent food safety criteria which penalise Indian farm and fishery exports and to make it easier for Indian professionals to work in the EU. Europe is primarily out to win major openings of India’s services sector and broad liberalisation of foreign investment, while India does not want to discuss allowing European firms to compete in India’s government procurement market.
Indian social movements, including fisherfolk and labour unions, people living with HIV/AIDS and other health activists have been mobilizing against the FTA. International actions and campaigns have particularly targeted the proposed intellectual property provisions of the agreement, and the impact of the FTA on access to medicines.
last update: May 2012
With agreement stalled on a number of issues, including India’s demand for European countries to open up their borders to skilled Indian IT workers in return for European legal professionals to work in India, Britain is pushing for rapid conclusion of a long-delayed free trade agreement between India and the 27-nation Europe Union, saying it was holding up trade and jobs at both ends.
Secret discussions aimed at pressuring India into dropping all measures that shield its industry from foreign competition have been held between European Union officials and some of the world’s top corporations.
Talks on a free trade agreement between the European Union and India are stuck on the issue of additional market access after the eighth round of negotiations in New Delhi late last month.
The eighth round of the FTA talks which took place in Mumbai last week have been strongly criticised in India for their secrecy and lack of consultation with the national parliament and state governments.
Indian and European negotiators will focus on whittling down differences over market access and intellectual property rights when they meet next week to push for a bilateral trade pact, a European diplomat said on Monday.
A new wave of investments from India to Europe and from Europe to India is likely to follow the India-EU free trade agreement which would take the bilateral trade to 160 billion euro by 2015, says the Indian Ambassador to France Ranjan Mathai.
Statement from the 9th EU-India Business Summit organised by the
Confederation of Indian Industry, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and
Industry, The Confederation of Swedish Enterprises and BUSINESSEUROPE on 6 November 2009
The EU is pushing an unsavoury free trade deal that would force India to give up control of its banking sector and drugs industry
The fate of the India-EU trade and investment agreement—which seeks to further open up bilateral markets for goods, investments
and services—may hang in balance as India and the EU lock horns over including labour standards in the pact.
Sources say that the two sides are nowhere close to an agreement.