The European Union is a politico-economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe. HQ: Brussels, Belgium. Negotiations for a comprehensive FTA were started in June 2007 and have been sluggish in their progress.

Any doubts?

  1. Profile photo of Sumer Shah Sumer Shah

    Why have India – EU FTA talks been disbanded? Just because of the high duties on automobiles – That’s it?

    1. Profile photo of Devesh Tiwari Devesh Tiwari

      kaafi reason the!! in 2013 main issues were IPR and anti dumping laws ,EU had taken action against cheap agro products of india because agro industry in EU started crying just like our steel industry (against china’s cheap steel)

European FTA pushes for tougher IPR rules under ongoing trade talks with India

  1. The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) has insisted on stricter provisions of intellectual property rights (IPR) under the ongoing negotiations for a Trade & Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA) with India
  2. Switzerland: Proposed that India agree to broader patentable principles, particularly on biologic products
  3. Also adopt exclusive rights in data used to support the registration of new drugs and vaccines; and eliminate its requirements for local manufacturing of patented inventions
  4. Why patent protection? Solid and reliable patent protection is not only important for any innovative pharmaceutical company, but just as much for other knowledge-based and innovative industries especially biotechnology which produces expensive cancer drugs
  5. CL: It also argued against granting compulsory licensing in case a drug is not produced in India but imported into the country
  6. It also seeks to protect the rights of pharma companies to keep patents by making minor changes in the formulation of drugs—known as evergreening—through data exclusivity
  7. Medicines Sans Frontiers (criticism of the proposals): The harmful provisions the Swiss government is pushing for, which go beyond what’s required under internationally-agreed law, will further create exclusive rights for profiteering and serve to undermine what remains of generic competition in India
  8. EFTA: Includes Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein
  9. Background: The free trade negotiations started in October 2008, and 13 rounds had been held until November 2013
  10. Chief negotiators decided to resume negotiations in 2016 after taking stock of their status, and a 14th round was held in October
  11. During this 15th round in January, experts from both sides held targeted discussions on outstanding issues regarding trade in goods and services, rules of origin and intellectual property rights, while heads of delegations reviewed the state of play of all other topics under discussion
  12. Fact check: Indian exports to EFTA region grew 13.7% to $1.5 billion in 2015-16 while imports contracted by 14% to $19.9 billion during the same period


The negotiations issue is important for mains. Know about the name of agreement, the associated group, basics on IPRs- very important for prelims (click here).

[op-ed snap] Marching to be counted


  1. 1daywithoutus, a day of action taking across the U.K. to celebrate the contribution made by immigrants, from outside and within the European Union (EU)
  2. Anti-immigrant sentiment brewing up in Britain too

The Brexit effect:

  1. While anti-immigrant sentiment has been a long-standing aspect of British politics, it’s been on the increase since June 23 last year, when Britain voted to leave the EU, with hate being directed across communities, and not just at EU citizens
  2. There’s been an upsurge of verbal attacks on the Indian community, particularly outside London, says Harsev Bains of the Indian Workers’ Association
  3. According to data compiled by the news agency Press Association, three-quarters of Britain’s 44 police forces reported a record number of hate crimes in the three months after the Brexit vote, with even cosmopolitan London recording 3,356 cases
  4. The Independent reported that police forces across the country are preparing themselves for a rise in racially or religiously motivated crime after the government triggers talks to exit the EU next month
  5. Even the white immigrants are being asked to leave the country

Contribution of immigrants:

  1. The contribution of immigrants to the U.K. is hard to dispute
  2. According to a report published earlier this week by the think-tank, the New Economics Foundation, British daily GDP would take a 4% hit if migrant workers stopped working for a day, costing the economy £328 million
  3. While 26% of those working in the health-care sector were born abroad, in other sectors such as food and hospitality, the figure is even higher, according to the NEF
  4. International students make up 20% of the student population in the U.K., according to the National Union of Students


  1. There are suggestions that better control of Britain’s borders would improve public services, health care and education
  2. That debate has continue to persist, with the government insisting that the public’s hope of controlling immigration was a key takeaway from the referendum
  3. The tough rhetoric on immigration has not been confined to the Conservatives
  4. The Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the party was “not wedded” to the principle of freedom of movement within the EU, while Deputy Leader Tom Watson recently told the BBC that the party was considering a number of options on post-Brexit immigration, including some form of regional immigration controls

Steps taken in this direction:

  1. The government has confirmed its willingness to sacrifice single market access to the EU in order to be able to control its borders
  2. Britain has also tightened controls for non-EU migrants, raising salary thresholds for work visas, while there has been talk of further controls of the student visa system
  3. The Health Secretary has even called for the NHS to be self-sufficient in doctors from within the U.K. by 2025
  4. The government has refused to guarantee the rights of EU nationals already in the U.K., insisting that it would not be able to do without guarantees from Europe on the rights of Britons there

The 1daywithoutus event follows close on the heels of the Day Without Immigrants protest in the U.S. With anti-immigrant tensions showing little sign of waning in the West, the call for such movements highlighting the role of immigrants is likely to grow.


You may not be directly asked questions on this issue, but it is an important one and you should be well aware of it.

Europe keen on resuming trade talks

  1. Context: ‘Delegation for Relations with India’ consisting of senior officials from the EU and European Parliament visiting India this week
  2. The delegation: Warned that the impasse in the India-European Union free trade negotiations could also hurt investment into India
  3. It urged the Indian govt to consider a six-month extension of bilateral investment treaties until the FTA or the comprehensive BTIA (Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement) negotiations are restarted
  4. Nearly 11 months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Brussels and spoke about the issue, EU diplomats say there has been no movement on the BTIA/FTA talks that were suspended in 2013 after 16 rounds of negotiation
  5. Treaty termination: One of the problems is the termination of the bilateral investment treaties by India
  6. The European Union is saying, it would be very helpful if they could consider extending these by at least about six months to enable new mechanisms to be put in place
  7. Need for urgency: There is a need for a “greater sense of urgency”, given that BITs with most EU countries would lapse within the first half of 2017
  8. Netherlands example: The Bilateral investment treaty with The Netherlands, a country that is home to the second largest population of people of Indian origin in Europe, after the UK, lapsed on November 30, and the rest are expected to follow shortly
  9. Investments: The delegation expressed that businesses in their countries would like to invest in India only once the government “guarantees” the process in India, which would follow the conclusion of the BTIA
  10. Insurance costs: Would also increase significantly in the absence of the agreements
  11. Trump-era: The delegation also pointed out that in the wake of Trump’s decision to pull out of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) with Asian countries and leave the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TIPP) in limbo should worry India as well


The arguments advanced for the trade negotiations, obstacles in talks and the negative fallout of failure of negotiations are important for mains. Note the minor details like the trade agreements and which regions do they pertain to, for prelims.

Q. The term ‘Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership’ often appears in the news in the context of the affairs of a group of countries known as: [Prelims-2016]

a) G20


c) SCO


Answer: (b)

Vijay Mallya among 57 fugitives India wants UK to send back

  1. Event: meeting between PM Narendra Modi and British PM Theresa May
  2. What: India has asked the UK to return 57 fugitives, including liquor baron Vijay Mallya, and members of some Sikh extremist groups
  3. The list also includes those about whom information is required under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty or Letters Rogatories
  4. The meeting also focused on greater cooperation to counter illegal activities and greater terrorism

Theresa May’s India visit: Key issues expected to be on the agenda

  1. Event: British PM Theresa May arrived in India late Sunday on a 3 day visit that aimed at boosting economic ties
  2. Key issues: She will address an India-UK Technology summit where she will pitch for partnerships between Indian and British companies to implement India’s flagship programmes
  3. For India, the priority is the question of immigration
  4. Britain has announced changes in immigration rules—including higher salary thresholds—that will affect Indian professionals and IT companies
  5. India could press for the extradition of embattled UB group chairman Vijay Mallya
  6. New Delhi could look for a strong statement on terrorism from Britain

India, EFTA to resume FTA talks this week in Geneva II

  1. The proposed pact covers trade in goods and services, market access for investments, protection of intellectual property and public procurement
  2. Issues: EFTA wants India to commit more in IPR. They were also demanding for data exclusivity, which India is completely opposed to
  3. The two way trade between the regions stood at USD 21.5 billion in 2015-16 as against USD 24.5 billion in the previous fiscal
  4. The trade gap is highly in the favour of EFTA group

India, EFTA to resume FTA talks this week in Geneva I

  1. Event: India and the EFTA, a bloc of four European countries will resume the long—stalled negotiations
  2. Purpose: A proposed free trade agreement
  3. The four EFTA members are – Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein
  4. The trade pact talks had started in October 2008

India rekindles bond with Hungary

  1. Event: Highest level visit in decades by a ranking Indian leader to Hungary, by Vice-President Hamid Ansari
  2. Two memoranda of cooperation were signed relating to water management and cooperation between the Indian Council for World Affairs and the Institute of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary
  3. Cooperation in defence industry, agriculture and film making was also initiated
  4. Background: Hungary has extended support to India’s bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group
  5. And in the context of the post-Brexit uncertainties for Indian business and industry in the United Kingdom
  6. The visit is expected to revive ties between the countries. Both countries acknowledged that relations have been neglected recently

India-Croatia economic cooperation

  1. News: Cabinet approved the signing and ratification of an agreement between India and Croatia on economic cooperation
  2. Background: The countries had earlier signed an agreement on trade and economic cooperation in September 1994
  3. Aim: To promote and develop bilateral trade and economic relations
  4. Continuity: Signing of the new agreement between India and Croatia would be a step in continuity as the existing agreement expired in November 2009
  5. Stats: The average bilateral trade growth was 17.44% during the last three years and stood at $205.04 million in 2014-15

SC allows Italian marine to go home

  1. Context: The Supreme Court allowed Italian marine Salvatore Girone to go Italy
  2. He has been allowed to go home on humanitarian basis
  3. Earlier: In September 2014, the court had allowed Mr. Girone’s compatriot to leave for Italy after he suffered a stroke
  4. He will have to return if an international tribunal decides that India has jurisdiction to try the marines for the deaths of two Kerala fishermen
  5. SC had suspended all court proceedings in India during August 2015 after Italy moved the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea
  6. Salvatore Girone is charged for killing two Kerala fishermen in 2012

EU had offered India gradual, asymmetric elimination of tariffs

  1. Context: Issue of halted BTIA negotiations between India & EU
  2. EU: Offered India the possibility of asymmetric and gradual elimination of tariffs in the car and car parts and wines and spirits sectors as part of the negotiations on BTIA
  3. Duties: EU exporters face Indian import duties of up to 100% on car and car parts and 150% on wines and spirits
  4. Hurdle: Absence of agreement in these sectors has contributed to lack of progress on BTIA despite last month’s summit level talks between India and the EU

India blames EU for FTA talks delay

  1. Context: European Ambassador’s comment that EU is interested in an ambitious and comprehensive FTA with India
  2. News: Commerce Minister has blamed the EU for delaying talks on the proposed India-EU Free Trade Agreement
  3. In the recent India-EU Summit, both sides welcomed the decision to re-engage in discussion to further the negotiations
  4. BTIA: The EU-India FTA is formally known as EU-India Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement

Learn more about India-EU FTA

  1. It is officially known as broad-based Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement
  2. The talks on the FTA had commenced in 2007 and both the sides had held 16 rounds of negotiations till 2013
  3. India’s import duty on cars are between 60 and 120% as against the EU’s 10% is a big challenge, in order to protect domestic automobile industry
  4. The objective of the tariffs is protection of an infant industry till they can compete with experienced players in that industry

India-EU free trade impasse may end: CII

  1. Context: Efforts to end a deadlock on the proposed EU Free Trade Agreement
  2. News: Confederation of Indian Industry is expecting some forward movement in the FTA negotiations between India and EU
  3. Reason: Indian industry is ready to grant greater market access to European Union firms in areas such as automobiles, wines and spirits
  4. India is looking for same in case garments, automobiles, automobile components and services sector
  5. India’s main demands includes data security status, easier temporary movement of skilled professionals and seamless intra-corporate movement
  6. Data Security Status: It is crucial for India’s IT sector to do more business with the EU firm

EU-India Agenda for Action 2020

  1. Context: The agenda was released after the 13th India-EU Summit at Brussels
  2. Take-aways: India and the EU have agreed to implement a framework to boost European investments in India
  3. To continue talks on concluding a bilateral trade and investment pact
  4. To use existing arrangements to resolve trade irritants

Modi can be a major ally in war against terror: EU lawmakers

  1. Context: Indian PM’s visit to EU headquarters at Brussels for India-EU Summit
  2. News: The European Parliament believes India can be a major ally of the EU in the global war against terror
  3. India has the “first-hand knowledge” of dealing with such issues
  4. India and EU will focus on overlapping interests, including maritime security, terrorism, space and cyber defence

India, EU to discuss trade, ‘sensitive bilateral issues’ at Brussels Summit

  1. News: India EU summit will witness an attempt from both sides to kick start the stalled talks on the Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA)
  2. Context: BTIA is a free trade agreement between India and the European Union
  3. Relevance: It provides an opportunity for leaders to raise more sensitive bilateral issues
  4. Such as the ongoing international arbitration under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in regard to the case of 2 Italian Marines
  5. Summit Agenda: To endorse an EU-India Agenda for Action 2020 which will set strategic priorities for the next 5 yrs
  6. Joint declarations specifically address projects including the ‘Indo-EU Water Partnership’ regarding the Indian govt’s ‘Clean Ganga’ and ‘Clean India’ projects
  7. Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility (CAMM), addressing regular and irregular migration, trafficking, a joint declaration on terrorism

Breakthrough unlikely in India-EU FTA negotiations

  1. What? India and EU are unlikely to make a breakthrough in stalled FTA during PM’s visit to Brussels to attend the 13th India-EU Summit
  2. Why? Both issued cautious statements ahead of summit showing varied expectations

PM to fly to Brussels as planned

  1. News: PM Modi is scheduled to travel to Brussels on his way to the U.S.
  2. Context: Will attend the European Union-India Summit and hold bilateral talks with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel
  3. Summit resume: After a break of 4 yrs, will see the resumption of talks on Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), as the Free Trade Agreement(FTA) is known
  4. Focus: EU support to India on climate change cooperation, clean water projects and in particular, the Namami Ganga project
  5. Issues on Table: Cooperation on fighting terror and deradicalisation and IS-related security issues
  6. Other Events: Apart from the bilateral meeting and the EU-India summit, Mr. Modi will attend an event organised for the Indian diaspora

Modi to attend summit of EU, India in Brussels

  1. Context: PM Modi will travel to Brussels for the EU-India summit on March 30
  2. Background: Summit is held after a long gap of 4 years due to suspension of talks on the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA)
  3. Concern: Some obstacles preventing the resumption of the India-EU FTA talks that were suspended in 2013 after 16 rounds of negotiation
  4. What EU wants from India? To substantially bring down the “high” duties on automobiles as a pre-condition for resumption of the FTA negotiations
  5. Why? because, India’s import duty on cars range from 60-120 per cent as against the EU’s 10 per cent

:( We are working on most probable questions. Do check back this section.

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