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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. India signed FTAs with ASEAN (2009), Korea (2009) and Japan (2010) as well.

Currently, bilateral FTA negotiations are going on with Australia, the GCC, Bangladesh, Canada, Colombia, Israel, New Zealand, Uruguay, Venezuela and Mauritius. 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 and Hong Kong.

In 2007/2008, India commenced FTA talks with European powerhouses EFTA and the EU. In 2010, it began talks with New Zealand and in 2011 with Australia. Since 2013, India has also been negotiating the mega-regional RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) agreement with the 10 ASEAN nations, Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea. These are the deals that are generating the most controversy and resistance at home.

India is also part of SAFTA (the South Asia FTA), BIMSTEC (aiming to develop an FTA), the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (a preferential trade agreement with Bangladesh, China, Laos, South Korea and Sri Lanka) 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 sectorial deals.

In 2017, Delhi expects to start talks on a trade deal with the Russia-led Eurasia Economic Union.

Apart from these trade deals, India has signed 82 bilateral investment agreements with a wide array of countries. Following a few controversial investor-state disputes (ISDS), India released a revised model BIT in December 2015, which will serve as a basis for future negotiations and should replace existing treaties. This new model tries to achieve more balance by, for instance, requiring investors to use local courts before turning to international arbitration and leaving out the highly contested provision on “fair and equitable treatment”. The adoption of the country’s new model text has been holding up on-going negotiations, such as those towards a US-India BIT.

last update: October 2016


Vanaspati imports from Lanka may be capped at 2.5 lt
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FTA with China likely to get a fresh look
Indicating that the idea of a free trade agreement with China has not been abandoned, the Indian government has begun a fresh exercise to explore the pros and cons of such an accord.
Green light for talks on GCC-India FTA
India will begin negotiations with the GCC as a single bloc as well as with individual member countries of the GCC for a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement, covering the service sector and investment, along the lines of the pact signed between India and Singapore recently.
Mauritius in talks for economic pact
With the recent signing of the India-Singapore comprehensive economic cooperation agreement (CECA) which threatens to reduce the importance of Mauritius as the investment gateway to India, Port Louis has began talks with New Delhi on a similar deal.
Deadlock on FTA with Thailand
The high-level negotiating team from Thailand that visited New Delhi recently was unable to break the impasse on the India-Thailand free trade agreement.
India and Mauritius begin talks on economic pact
India and Mauritius have held a first round of talks on a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA).
India keen on building strong ties wth Gulf states
"We are looking at something more than FTAs. We would like to sign CECAs with the Gulf states. They are an important area of foreign policy," the Indian Prime Minister Office sources said.
India, Korea to ink economic pact soon
The final round of consultations of India-Korea Joint Study Group are to be held soon to finalise its report on the formulation of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between the two countries, Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs & Trade Ban Ki-Moon, said Monday.
India to explore FTA with AGCC
India will explore a free trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and explore opportunities with individual countries in the Arab world for greater cooperation in the services sector.
CECA and free trade agreements
A Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) between India and Singapore has been signed on the 29th June in New Delhi by the Prime Ministers of two countries.

    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.
  • 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.