Broad Based Trade And Investment Agreement The Hindu

India and the EU could re-examine the long-standing Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) and consider the possibility of reaching a meeting and moving forward discussions when heads of state and government meet on Wednesday at the India-EU summit, an official source said. In response to speculation about whether “Brexit”, the BRITISH referendum on EU membership on 23 June or the EU negotiations with the US on a transatlantic bilateral trade agreement, TTIP, have retained trade negotiations with India, Rosario has denied that this is the case. “Well, we have a roundtable with the U.S., and we`ve had… a roundtable with Japan on a free trade agreement. Life goes on,” Rosario said. We are well aware of the process in the UK, but we continue to run our business as usual. BTIA`s overall trade regime, which covers many factors in trade in goods, services and investment. As India is one of the EU`s main trading partners, if not the most important, due to the fact that India accounted for 13.5% of total trade in 2015-16. The BTIA is therefore important for both the EU and India. The separation of a separate investment protection agreement from the bilateral free trade agreement, officially known as the Large-Scale Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), currently under negotiation, will allow the investment protection pact to be signed, even if there is no progress on BTIA. These negotiations are in line with the commitment made by the Heads of State and Government at the 7th India-EU Summit in Helsinki on 13 October 2006 to negotiate a large-scale trade and investment agreement, based on the report of the India-EU High-Level Technical Group. In June 2007, the European Union and India began negotiations for a bilateral free trade and investment agreement. However, a number of controversies between governments have plagued the discussions. Delhi wants Brussels to relax its strict food security criteria that penalise Indian exports of agriculture and fishing and facilitate the work of Indian workers in the EU.

Europe`s main aim is to achieve large openings in india`s services sector and a global liberalisation of foreign investment, while India does not want to discuss allowing European companies to compete with the Indian procurement market. However, several EU countries are prevented from investing in India without an investment agreement, and officials now suspect that this will be set in motion when Prime Minister Modi attends the India-EU summit in Brussels on 13 March, which will take place after a two-year hiatus. India and the EU should continue to welcome the other country`s leading role in the world, in particular because of their shared values. For those who prefer to look at the situation more pertinently, this may be due to the fact that the EU is India`s largest trading partner and is cautious, as is India, on Chinese policy (the summit statement is about freedom of navigation) and economic dominance. The EU is concerned that China is flooding global markets with cheap steel, and its response to China`s Belt and Road Initiative has been tepid, but the strength of China`s relations with EU member states is heterogeneous, with China trying to penetrate by investing in infrastructure in Central and Eastern Europe. It is therefore essential that India continue to strengthen its ties with the EU. Negotiations for the BTIA between India and the EU, which began in 2007, were suspended in 2014 following major differences on important market access issues, such as automotive, wine and spirits, dairy products and the movement of professionals. Last year, the EU expressed interest in considering a bilateral investment protection agreement (BIPA) with India, which is expected to be decoupled from the proposed free trade pact, but no agreement has been reached.

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