EU and India ready to resume BTIA talks

Modi Tusk and Juncker India EU summit Oct 2017EU and India BTIA: A delegation of senior EU officials is to visit Delhi next month to assess the possibility of resuming the talks about a free trade agreement with India that began nearly ten years ago. The EU is India’s number one trading partner with exports growing from €24.2bn in 2006 to €37.8bn in 2016, according to European Commission figures, and Brussels’ decision to send a high-ranking delegation to the sub-continent follows an improvement in relations brokered at the India-EU summit in New Delhi earlier this month.
The FTA – officially known as the broad-based trade and investment agreement (BTIA) — was launched in 2007, but stalled for a number of reasons including the EU’s prolonged recession, its focus on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement with the US and then its move to ban 700 generic drugs tested in India. Disagreements over the extent of market opportunities for some alcoholic drinks and automobiles and the EU’s hesitation in granting India data secure status also became obstacles; and just when the two sides looked ready to resume talks last year, India’s refusal to renew bilateral investment treaties (BITs) with individual EU countries that lapsed by April 2017 upset Brussels, which subsequently did not respond to India’s requests for dates to re-start talks.
Indian auto industryThe prospect of Brexit is also seen as a difficulty – but also an opportunity, an unnamed source in Delhi said this week.“With the UK out of the EU, Germany is expected to take the lead in the negotiations,” the source told The Economic Times. “So there will be less aggression on services as this was the UK’s long-standing demand. But automobiles may become an important part of the agenda.”
The issue of investment could still prove to be a sticking point, with New Delhi keen to renegotiate all its past BITs on the basis of a new model that has been drawn up by the Indian Finance Ministry in an attempt to reduce litigation brought against the government. This would be a comprehensive pact for all 29 nations and a part of the proposed BTIA, the official added. While the Brussels is insistent that this issue should be settled before talks resume, New Delhi wants it to form part of the overall BTIA,along with goods and services.

 
Source: indiatimes