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
The most affected from the EU-India FTA will be India’s dairy farming sector, where regularly five million women and 15 million men work to meet their daily needs.
What is slowly emerging is the beginning of a composite oppositition to FTAs in India.
A free-trade pact with EU will weaken India’s stance at WTO
The paper broadly examines the core trade interests of the EU and India, the content of the negotiations and outlines some key concerns of a potential deal for India in the areas of goods, services and investments, intellectual property rights and government procurement.
Conversations on the EU-India FTA
India on Wednesday said it is committed to expeditiously conclude a free trade agreement with the European Union (EU) and is expecting some headway when the next round of talks take place here in July.
India will stick to its demand for duty-free access to 95 per cent of the outward trade from India to the European Union (EU), against 90 per cent of that from the EU to India, for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), a top government official from the commerce ministry said.
"Concerned" over "child and bonded labour" in India, the European Parliament has strongly pressed the European Union to include the issues in the Free Trade Agreement talks with New Delhi, which is stoutly against inclusion of social issues in commercial deals.
Unlike other bilateral agreements, the potential implications of India-EU FTA would be far-reaching since nine EU-based banks together controlled 65% of total assets of foreign banks in India in 2008. By asset size, out of the top 10 foreign banks in India, six are European.
In a report released today, Traidcraft shows that the EU-India free trade agreement (FTA) under negotiation, would strip away essential policy tools that India needs to support its economy and safeguard jobs — when European governments are doing all they can to rescue their own economies during these exceptional times.