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
All Parties Hurriyat Conference senior leader and Chairman Jammu and Kashmir Salvation Movement Zaffar Akabar Bhat on Thursday appealed the European Union to cancel the FTA with India due to its poor human rights record across the Occupied Jammu and Kashmir where, from the last 18 years Indian soldiers are not only killing the innocent people but also disappearing the youth and dumping them in fake encounters aimed at converting the majority of Muslim population into minority .
A planned free trade deal between the EU and India has run into serious difficulties over whether or not it should include clauses relating to human rights and weapons of mass destruction. But anti-poverty campaigners have also argued that an agreement is undesirable as it could potentially reduce India’s control over its own economy.
Indian objections to the inclusion of a standard “human rights and democracy” clause in a proposed free trade agreement with the European Union have emerged as a serious stumbling block, the Financial Times has learnt.
A senior European Union official expressed concern on Thursday about calls by some EU states to drop a clause on weapons of mass destruction from a trade and investment agreement planned with nuclear-armed India.
India and the European Union must push for a strong bilateral trade and investment pact even as they continue to play a crucial role to conclude the current round of global trade talks, a top EU official said Friday.
Freer movement of Indian professionals in 25 European Union member countries is likely to be a reality in the near future, as this will be a key point of negotiations in the proposed free trade agreement with EU.
Trade liberalisation for rubber, tea, coffee and edible oil could be minor political concerns in the proposed free trade pact with Asean compared to what the European Union is looking for in its bilateral agreement with India.
Sensing little differences in the proposed free trade agreement with the European Union, India today said the negotiations on the pact should begin soon.
At a meeting in Bangalore, on 17 January 2007, BUSINESSEUROPE and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) adopted a joint statement supporting the rapid launch of the negotiations of an ambitious EU-India trade and investment agreement.
India said with Portugal taking presidency of the European Union by July, the strong ties between the two countries would help expedite the proposed free trade agreement between India and the EU.