bilaterals.org logo
bilaterals.org logo

India

The Indian government is getting more active in seeking out bilateral trade agreements, mainly with other so-called developing countries.

Delhi has signed limited free trade agreements with Sri Lanka (1998) and Thailand (2003) plus a number of preferential trade agreements (tariff concession schemes) with countries/blocs such as Afghanistan, Nepal, Chile and Mercosur.

At the end of June 2005, the government signed a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement with Singapore, what many consider India’s first "comprehensive" FTA. India expects to upgrade its pact with Sri Lanka into a similar type of Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. India signed FTAs with ASEAN (2009), Korea (2009) and Japan (2010) as well.

Currently, bilateral FTA negotiations are going on with Australia, the GCC, Bangladesh, Canada, Colombia, Israel, New Zealand, Uruguay, Venezuela and Mauritius. Further down the line, the government is in various stages of considering talks with Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Korea, Egypt, SACU (Southern African Customs Union), Russia and Hong Kong.

In 2007/2008, India commenced FTA talks with European powerhouses EFTA and the EU. In 2010, it began talks with New Zealand and in 2011 with Australia. Since 2013, India has also been negotiating the mega-regional RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) agreement with the 10 ASEAN nations, Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea. These are the deals that are generating the most controversy and resistance at home.

India is also part of SAFTA (the South Asia FTA), BIMSTEC (aiming to develop an FTA), the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (a preferential trade agreement with Bangladesh, China, Laos, South Korea and Sri Lanka) and IBSA (the India-Brazil-South Africa triangle aiming to develop a trilateral South-South FTA).

India’s growing business community is lobbying for an India-US FTA, but for the moment Washington and Delhi are still building their bilateral relations through a possible investment treaty as well as smaller sectorial deals.

In 2017, Delhi expects to start talks on a trade deal with the Russia-led Eurasia Economic Union.

Apart from these trade deals, India has signed 82 bilateral investment agreements with a wide array of countries. Following a few controversial investor-state disputes (ISDS), India released a revised model BIT in December 2015, which will serve as a basis for future negotiations and should replace existing treaties. This new model tries to achieve more balance by, for instance, requiring investors to use local courts before turning to international arbitration and leaving out the highly contested provision on “fair and equitable treatment”. The adoption of the country’s new model text has been holding up on-going negotiations, such as those towards a US-India BIT.

last update: October 2016


Govt assures all help to auto sector to face FTAs, RTAs
Assuring all help to the auto component industry in dealing with free trade agreements (FTAs) and regional trade agreements (RTAs), the Government on Wednesday said formalities for setting up an R&D centre for the industry would be completed soon.
India-Sri Lanka: South Indian business delegation calls on Minister Kadirgamar
A delegation of members of the Southern Region Office of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) representing a variety of business enterprises called on Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar at the Ministry of Foreign affairs on August 31.
India, Gulf nations to explore FTA
India and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) today signed a framework agreement on economic cooperation as a first step towards exploring the possibility of a free trade area (FTA) between them.
India: Safeguards in FTAs sought
India must incorporate special provisions for the chemical, petrochemical and textile sectors in its free trade agreements (FTAs) with other countries as a steady decline in tariffs in these sectors is exposing domestic players to unfair competition, says a draft report on FTAs prepared by the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade.
MNCs reworking India strategy
Even though the finer implications of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Thailand are yet to become clear, multinational players have begun reworking the economics of operating from India.
More FTAs waiting in the wings - India
The finalisation of modalities for implementation of the Indo-Thai free trade agreement (FTA) on Friday sends out clear signals that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) is not averse to the idea.
India will review FTA’s, says PM
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday made his maiden foray into the foreign policy realm by announcing a review of the various Foreign Trade Agreements (FTAs) signed by the previous BJP-led NDA government.
India to take re-look at free trade pact with Thailand
India will take a hard re-look at the free trade agreement with Thailand which the Vajpayee Government initiated last year.
India-Thailand FTA: More linkage sought in tourism, hospitality
Bangkok and New Delhi are looking forward to developing further linkages in the areas of tourism and hospitality to widen economic co-operation under the Thailand-India bilateral free-trade agreement, according to high-ranking representatives of both countries.
FTA With Mercosur group shouldn’t hit domestic veg oil, food industries
Ahead of India preparing to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with the Mercosur group of countries, the vegetable oil and food industries have cautioned the government to work out the arrangement keeping in mind the interests of domestic industry.

    Links


  • Forum against FTAs
    The Forum is formed by trade unions, people movements and civil society organizations to campaign against the impact of free trade agreements on labour and livelihood rights of people in India.
  • India FDI Watch
    India FDI Watch is building awareness and facilitating grassroots action to prevent the take-over of India’s retail sector by corporations.