Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

India and EU relaunch FTA talks, sign connectivity partnership


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: BTIA

Mains level: Paper 2- Talks on India-EU trade agreement resumed

Resumption of FTA

  • Prime Minister of India interacted virtually from Delhi with EU chiefs.
  • India and the European Union agreed to relaunch free trade negotiations by resuming talks that were suspended in 2013 for the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA).
  • The talks had run into trouble over market access issues, and tariffs by India on products like wine, dairy and automotive parts, as well as EU resistance over visas for Indian professionals.
  • In addition, Indian government’s decision to scrap all Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) in 2015 posed hurdles for new EU investments in India.

Connectivity Partnership document

  • The EU-India leaders adopted a Connectivity Partnership document.
  • The India-EU connectivity partnership committed the two sides to working together on digital, energy, transport, people to people connectivity.
  • The partnership is seen as a response to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and comes as the EU’s negotiations with China on their Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) have run into trouble.
  • The contract for the second tranche of $150 million from the EU for the Pune Metro rail project was also signed.

No EU support for Covid-19 vaccine waiver

  • India failed to secure the support of the European leaders for patent waivers for Covid vaccine.
  • The support of a major bloc like the EU is crucial to passing the resolution at the WTO by consensus.

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