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
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, during a European summit in Finland in October, will call for the start of negotiations on an Indian-EU free trade agreement.
A CECA with EU may look like an alphabet soup, but would spell a whole new range of opportunities for Indian enterprises and professionals. High on its success with the comprehensive economic co-operation agreement (CECA) with Singapore, the government is now planning a similar deal with the 25-member European Union.
The United Kingdom has proposed that India and the European Union enter into a Free Trade Agreement. The suggestion was made by the visiting UK Trade Minister, Ian Pearson, to Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath, who said India would be "open" to the idea.
The sixth India-EU summit in New Delhi on September 7 is likely to be marked by a more definite move towards clinching a bilateral investment/trade agreement.
On the eve of UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair’s arrival in the country for the India-EU Summit, India Inc. represented by the country’s top CEOs on Monday favoured signing of a special Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU) in the area of services, given India’s strength in knowledge driven sectors and changing demographic profile in EU, which will soon face a shortage of trained manpower for future economic growth.
The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India sees tremendous scope for enhancing economic ties with Europe and has mooted a four pronged strategy for expanding India’s trade basket with the enlarged EU in areas such as information technology & communication, biotech & pharmaceuticals, agro foods processing and textiles.