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 push is part of a broader EU plan to accelerate trade talks with India, according to a person familiar with the talks.
President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen’s two-day visit starting on April 24 will see discussions around key issues including the India-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
India’s successful free-trade agreements with the UAE and Australia have encouraged the country and the EU to plan three rounds of talks, all within this year to conceptualise a basic frameworks under which the partners will negotiate a comprehensive deal to raise bilateral trade.
India and the EU are set to soon expedite formal negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA), with commerce secretary BVR Subrahmanyam visiting Brussels this week to set the stage for the talks.
The preliminary negotiations are expected to prepare the ground for ironing out differences and even attempt to crack an early harvest deal before 2024 polls in India.
India is trying to persuade the European Union to come to the negotiating table to work out the contours of the proposed bilateral free trade agreement instead of putting in place numerous preconditions for starting the talks.
India wants “greater urgency” and “faster movement” in negotiations with the European Union for trade and investment pacts, though there are challenges, Indian external affairs minister said.
There is no clarity now over when formal negotiations on the proposed India-EU trade pact would begin.
Sweden’s ambassador to India, expressed hope that the FTA between the EU and India would be negotiated and resolved soon. Swedish diplomats also stressed on innovation and cooperation between entities from their country and India.
After an eight year hiatus, India and the European Union (EU) are set to resume negotiations for a Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) by December, according to a Government official.