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. In 2009, India signed an FTA with ASEAN.

Currently, bilateral FTA negotiations are going on with the GCC, Bangladesh, Canada, Colombia, Israel, New Zealand, Uruguay, Venezuela and Mauritius. Since 2007/2008, India commenced FTA talks with industrialised powerhouses Japan, EFTA and the EU. These are the deals that are generating the most controversy and resistance at home.

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, , Hong Kong and Australia.

India is also part of SAFTA (the South Asia FTA), BIMSTEC (aiming to develop an FTA) 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 sectoral deals.

last update: May 2012


    Articles

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  • 11-Feb-2016 Business Today The whole BIT
    The revised model text for bilateral investment treaties has addressed many concerns, but to avoid litigations, India must renegotiate existing treaties on the basis of the new norms.
  • 29-Jan-2016 Hellenic Shipping News India plans own FTA template to counter zero tariff formula
    To counter the zero tariff formula championed by the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, India plans to advocate its own template for future free trade agreements (FTAs) wherein trade partners have to lower tariffs to 5%.
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    The new Bilateral Investment Treaty will ensure that no decision taken by the government with regard to taxation matters is dragged into arbitration.
  • 13-Jan-2016 Industry meets Nirmala Sitharaman, flags FTAs
    Representatives of industry raised concerns about the impact of various free-trade agreements (FTAs) on the country’s trade and sought more clarity on guidelines governing e-commerce in a meeting with commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday.
  • 13-Jan-2016 Nirmala Sitharaman: Govt open to revisiting FTAs
    The government is open to reviewing and renegotiating existing free trade agreements (FTAs) India has signed with different countries, Union minister of state for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman said on Monday.
  • 28-Dec-2015 Modi’s Pak stopover ignites hope for trade talks
    Trade dialogue between India and Pakistan — officially in the cold storage for almost three years — is set to be revived, now that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has broken the political ice with Islamabad with his Christmas visit to Lahore.
  • 21-Dec-2015 Govt sets up working group to examine impact of FTAs
    The government has constituted an independent working group under the Chief Economic Advisor to examine the impact of free trade agreements (FTAs) signed by India, the Parliament was informed today.
  • 17-Dec-2015 The Economic Times Govt approves revised BIT model, excludes tax matters
    The Cabinet approved the revised model text for the Bilateral Investment Treaty.
  • 9-Dec-2015 Xinhua Le Sri Lanka refuse de signer un accord économique avec l’Inde
    Le gouvernement sri-lankais a refusé de signer un accord de partenariat économique avec l’Inde, expliquant que ce dernier avait été négocié par le précédent gouvernement.
  • 9-Dec-2015 The Hindu Sri Lanka will never sign CEPA with India: PM Wickremesinghe
    Sri Lanka will never sign the long-pending CEPA with India mooted during the previous Mahinda Rajapaksa regime.
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    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.
  • FTA Watch - India
    A weekly digest on India’s Free Trade Agreements and alternatives to free trade, produced by Intercultural Resources
  • 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.
  • India’s current engagement in RTAs
    Webpage maintained by India’s Ministry of Commerce