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
Bilateral trade and investment ties between India and the EU have become severely strained with the Modi government’s initial refusal to resume stalled negotiations on the proposed India-EU free trade agreement .
India and the European Union on Thursday discussed preparations for a long-due summit meeting, which was postponed due to the Covid pandemic.
But the EU wants issues such as market access for automobiles, wines, and govt procurement issues resolved first.
The European Union said it was hopeful of forward movement in negotiations with India on the long-pending free trade agreement, and favoured opening separate talks for an investment protection treaty.
India and the EU need to sort out complex issues such as government procurement, labour standards and sustainability as part of the bilateral free trade talks that have been stuck for more than half a decade.
Move follows govt. decision to pull out of RCEP; Europe sceptical about timeline.
Thailand has already submitted a list of around 200 items to be traded between the two countries under the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA), but Pakistan government’s response and progress was waited.
India should hold talks with the European Union for a free trade agreement, the government said on Tuesday, a day after it refused to join a China-backed regional trade pact for fear of a flood of cheap Chinese imports.
Modi, while speaking to the European MPs, called for "early conclusion of a fair and balanced BTIA" which he had termed a "priority for the government."
As the results of the elections in India and the elections to the European Parliament have been announced, it is high time for India and the EU to build on the momentum, intensify strategic dialogues, and enhance cooperation.