India-EU BTIA

 

India and the European Commission (with a negotiating mandate from the European Council) initiated negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) called the Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement(BTIA) in 2007. The BTIA talks hit a roadblock on the contentious issues of import duty on European cars and alcohol (wines and spirits) levied by India, and recognition of India as a ‘data-secure’ nation by the EU. A greater access for its professionals in the EU is also desired by India.  Seven rounds of negotiations have been completed without reaching a Free Trade Agreement. India was one of the first countries to develop relations with predecessors of the European Union. In 1963, India initiated a diplomatic dialogue with the European Economic Community (EEC). . In 2004, India and the European Union initiated a Strategic Dialogue. A Joint Action Plan was agreed upon in 2005 and updated in 2008 and later India-EU Joint Statement was published in 2009 and 2012 following the India-European Union Summits. Though India and the EU had held one stock-taking meeting each in the last three months on the FTA, formal negotiations are yet to re-start. Since 2013, when the FTA talks were delayed, India has unilaterally undertaken several reforms such as allowing 49 percent foreign investment in insurance and pension, easing of foreign investments norms in the banking, defence and railways sectors. The FTA negotiations were expected to restart in August 2015, but India deferred them saying it was disappointed and concerned over the EU imposing a ban on sale of around 700 pharmaceutical products clinically tested by GVK Biosciences.

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