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
A key provision in the draft of the India-European Union (EU) free trade agreement (FTA) may have implications on the affordability of medicines, while also hurting the negotiations between the two trading blocs.
India and the European Union on Tuesday decided to fast track the talks to conclude a Free Trade Agreement within the next few months.
On the dangers of India’s FTAs with EU
Taking exception to “extreme secrecy” in negotiations on the India-EU free-trade agreement, Communist Party of India (Marxist) has asked the Manmohan Singh government to discuss all proposals and drafts in Parliament and with states before taking any further step.
By formally declaring their willingness to take the European Union to the World Trade Organization’s dispute settlement court last week, India may be using the looming legal dispute as leverage to control the free trade (FTA) negotiations which have hit a snag on social issues.
Close economic cooperation between India and Asean can prove to be a potent force in shaping the economic fortunes of South and South-east Asia over the next decade. Standard & Poor’s believes, however, that recent Indo-Asean increases in trade and investment flows still fall well short of their full potential.
India is facing strong pressure to open up its markets to cheese and other dairy produce from Europe, even though the New Delhi government has expressed fears about how small farmers could be forced into deeper poverty as a result.
The European Commission has said that the proposed FTA with India will not affect production of cheap life-saving medicines in the country as the two sides agreed that the IPR chapter will not go beyond TRIPS.
The Government of India came under attack from a coalition of groups representing farmers unions, trade unions, hawkers, public health and other civil society organisations on the ongoing, secret negotiations on a European Union–India Free Trade Agreement (EU-India FTA)
Protests in Delhi, India as its trade negotiators sit in Brussels with EU on the next round of FTA talks that they hope to wrap by October 2010