India awaits EU’s approval to proceed on FTA talks
The Dollar Business Bureau
India is still expecting a confirming reply from the European Union to resume the proposed free trade agreement negotiation talks.
In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Nirmala Sitharaman, Commerce and Industry Minister said that India is willing to begin the negotiation talks under the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BITA).
The beginning of these negotiation talks happened in June 2007 and so far 16 rounds of these negotiations have been held.
In 2013, two rounds of the stock taking meeting took place in January and February. However, due to some outstanding issues, EU withdrew from these negotiations during the same period.
To trade measures adopted in the European Union, India needs relaxations in the norms related to the movement of professionals, data security status, technical barriers and real market access in terms of sanitary and phytosanitary (norms related to plants and animals).
The negotiations were expected to happen in August, however India postponed it expressing concerns over EU, when they banned the sale of 700 clinically tested pharma products by GVK Biosciences.
The proposed broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement negotiation has also been facing many issues due to the differences from both the sides on many crucial issues.
EU has been demanding duty cuts in automobiles and also tax reduction in spirits, wines and dairy products and a strong intellectual property jurisdiction.
The free trade agreement is mainly aimed at removing tariffs on goods and also helps in facilitating trade and growth of investment on both sides.
During 2014-15, a two-way commerce in goods between EU and India amounted to $98.5 billion.