India, EU to push for free trade pact again

3 min read

News:India and the European Union has once again restarted talks on a Bilateral Trade Investment Agreement(BTIA).

Facts:

About Bilateral Trade Investment Agreement(BTIA):

  • Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement is a Free Trade Agreement between India and EU which was initiated in 2007. 
  • Even after a decade of negotiations,India and EU have failed to resolve certain issues which have led to a deadlock in negotiations.

Why is there a deadlock?

European Union(EU) Demands:

  • The EU has asked India to adopt stringent Intellectual Property(IP) protection standards.But this could impact Indian public health and affect the Indian pharmaceutical sector.
  • EU has also asked India to reduce taxes on liquor and automobiles. However,India is trying to set up its own automobile industry which would not be able to match the competition from EU automobiles and tax reduction on wines and spirits is not acceptable as these are regarded as sin goods.
  • Further,it has also asked India to liberalise accountancy and legal services.But,India do not want foreign lawyers and accountants to practice in India as there is already a shortage of jobs.
  • India has also cancelled most bilateral investment agreements with EU member states in 2016 on grounds that they were outdated.

India’s Demands:

  • India has not been granted data secure status by the EU.Being considered data secure is crucial for a number of services especially in the IT and ITES sectors.
  • Liberalisation of services in Mode 1 (cross-border trade) and Mode 4 (presence and movement of natural persons).
  • Free access to European Markets for the Indian textile industry.