bilaterals.org logo
bilaterals.org logo

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


India, Peru to hold next round of FTA talks this week
Senior officials of India and Peru will hold next round of negotiations for a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) in the South American nation this week to boost two-way commerce between the countries.
Better use of bilateral relations, FTA can boost Indo-Vietnam trade: Envoy
The Vietnamese envoy to India pointed out that trade between India and Vietnam is languishing at around one percent of the total trade done by both countries.
India proposes to negotiate trade pact with Africa: Prabhu
India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu today pitched for a free trade agreement with Africa with a view to boosting economic ties between the two regions.
India has not signed any FTA in last 3 years: Government
India has not signed any free or preferential trade agreement (FTA/PTA) in the last three years, Parliament informed.
India, Korea for early conclusion of CEPA review
India and Korea has committed to early conclusion of the review of the free trade agreement between the two nations with a view to intensifying bilateral economic cooperation.
Five Nordic countries pitch for FTA with India
The five Nordic countries of Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland and Sweden have pitched for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India to increase business ties.
Justin Trudeau’s visit reflects uneasy state of Indo-Canada trade ties
India’s decision to raise duties on pulses from Canada, elusive progress on bilateral investment treaty and free trade pact major hurdles in improving trade relations.
Kant bats for early ratification of India-EU FTA
NITI Aayog, the policy think tank of India’s CEO Amitabh Kant today said it is "extremely important" for the India-EU free trade pact to be ratified at the earliest as countries like Bangladesh and Vietnam already enjoy preferential access to European markets.
India, Iran sign 9 agreements during Hassan Rouhani’s visit: MoUs on medicine, trade and connectivity key highlights
Iran president Hassan Rouhani visited India between 15 and 17 February. In his first-ever visit after taking over as President of Iran, Rouhani met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday and held "substantive and productive" talks to boost cooperation in areas of defence and security, trade and investment, and energy, the Ministry of External Affairs said.
Canadian PM Trudeau set to woo Punjab industry
Eager to please the Sikh community in Canada which is increasingly gaining political weight in the country, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is all set to woo the Punjab industry during his India visit later this week.

    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.