The trade agreements between India and the European Union are some of the many current affairs topics that candidates attempting the IAS Exam must be well-versed with. This article will give details of one of these agreements – the BTIA (Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement).
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What is the BTIA?
The BTIA broad trade arrangement which covers many factors of trade in goods, services and investment. As India is one of EU’s important, if not largest, trading partner due to the fact that India accounted for 13.5% of total trade in 2015-2016. Thus the BTIA is important for both the EU and India.
Both India and the European Union have been negotiating the Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement for decades. The negotiations include many factors such as tariff reductions, market access and investments. The last rounds of negotiations happened on November 2013 and ever since then, the negotiations have been stonewalled. LAtest events like the Brexit and terminations of other overseas investment treaties might have a direct impact on the BTIA and negotiations are likely to resume in the becoming years.
BTIA – UPSC Notes:- Download PDF Here
Current Scenario of BTIA
The Government of the United Kingdom announced that it will pull out of the European Union in June 2016. The Brexit would be formalized on February 1st, 2020. Before this, the UK was one of the vocal opposition of the BTIA with the focus being on the liberalization of visa rules for Indian workers and reduction of tariffs on spirits. The UK has a substantive interest in both issues as it is opposed to liberal visa rules for Indian skilled labour and wants its whiskey and other spirits to face lower customs duties in India. Since the UK is no longer a part of BTIA talks, it can be taken for granted that the negotiations will be a smooth one
Post-Brexit, the EU will be entering unknown territories and India is renegotiating the RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which is a partnership of magnanimous proportions with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
However, the RCEP negotiations are complicated and involve sixteen countries at different levels of progress and with diverging concerns.
Continuing the BTIA talks with the EU will benefit India for the following reasons:
- The EU is one of India’s important trading partner thus the benefits outweigh the risks involved
- Both the EU and India have robust markets with a large population
- If India needs to keep its economic development going then better market access and integration of global logistic chains that the BTIA will offer are key elements
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