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‘India, EU can redo int’l economic order’

Mint | 3 July 2023

‘India, EU can redo int’l economic order’

by Rhik Kundu

New Delhi: A successful trade relationship between India and the European Union holds the potential to significantly reshape the global economic order, but the two entities need to find common ground on various issues first, a report presented in the European Parliament said.

These issues include investor protection, tariffs, alcohol markets and digital frameworks, said the report from the Jacques Delors Institute titled ‘India and the European Union in 2023: Building A Closer Economic Relationship’. The future of the India-EU partnership depends on both parties’ ability to navigate these challenges, the report said.

“Even so, given their common concerns, the EU and India have a unique opportunity in the 2020s to deepen their partnership and shape the global agenda on trade, digitalization, climate change and security," the report written by Nicolas Köhler-Suzuki, a trade policy adviser and researcher with Jacques Delors Institute, added.

Among others, the EU wants unrestricted cross-border flow of data between the two sides, which includes allowing storage of data in EU countries under the proposed free trade agreement (FTA). The negotiations between EU and India were officially re-launched in June 2022 after being stalled for nine years.

India’s Data Protection Bill will have guidelines on data protection, data storage and cross-border flow of data.

Meanwhile, beer, wine, feta and gouda cheese, luxury cars, fisheries, and agricultural items, among others, are the key interest areas that the EU has shared with India.

“Improving economic ties will be key to realizing the true potential of the strategic partnership between the EU and India. However, previous negotiations on a free trade agreement failed in 2013 due to divergent preferences," the report said.

Spokespersons of India’s commerce ministry and the European Union didn’t respond to queries.

“The EU-India relationship could be a major contributor to the European Commission’s desire to ‘de-risk’ the EU’s trade and investment relationships. India can provide the EU with a valuable trade partner and access to a large and growing market, while the EU has the potential to provide India with the investment, technology, and market access it needs to grow its economy," it added.

The 27-nation bloc is among India’s largest trading partners in the world. Talks for an India-EU free trade agreement were suspended in 2013 after 16 rounds of negotiations since 2007, following sharp differences on crucial issues between the two sides. The EU insisted that India scrap or cut high import duties on sensitive products such as automobiles, alcoholic beverages and dairy products and open up legal services. Similarly, India’s demand included greater access to the EU market for its skilled professionals, among others.

 source: Mint