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
Even as the Centre is inching closer to sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) deal with the European Union (EU), India’s dairy sector has flagged some concerns involving livelihood scores of Indian farmers.
After successfully blocking milk product imports from New Zealand and Australia under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, the Indian dairy industry is mounting similar pressure vis-à-vis a free trade deal with the European Union (EU).
India and the European Union (EU) may announce some progress in negotiations relating to a broad-based trade and investment agreement during the India-EU summit scheduled for 8 May.
The European Commission said that it wants to “explore options” for expanding the EU’s trade and investment with India.
India - EU trade negotiations are likely to run into the same problems as the discussions that began on a comprehensive free trade agreement in 2007 but were aborted due to differences on movement of professionals, labour, human rights and environmental issues and other issues.
India and the EU have discussed holding regular interactions for re-initiation of the bilateral trade and investment agreement with an interim agreement, to start with, according to an official statement.
The EU will be able to strike an investment deal with India, but a full-blown free trade agreement will be a much harder sell, said Portugal’s foreign minister.
Union Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday said that trade & economy is one of the most important pillars of India- European Union (EU) partnership, and India is looking forward enhancing this relation.
The EU-India virtual summit took place last month with three ’elephants in the room’. The largest elephant was China. Both India and the EU have traditionally followed policies of cooperation with China, but ties have plumbed new depths during the pandemic.
India and the EU may take a fresh look at the long-pending bilateral Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) and see if a meeting ground could be reached and the talks taken forward when leaders meet at the India-EU Summit.