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Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA):

GS Paper 2

Topics Covered: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

 

Context:

India and the European Union (EU) are set to resume negotiations for a Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) by December.

 

Challenges ahead:

  • Negotiators are still “quite far apart” due to what Europe perceives as India’s “protectionist stance”.
  • Besides, Make in India programme has been accelerated by the COVID-19 crisis and recent pronouncements that India wants to go ‘Self reliant’ has added to the situation.

 

India- EU trade:

  • Trade with India formed under 3% of the E.U.’s global trade, which is “far below” what was expected of the relationship.
  • Conversely, the E.U. is India’s largest trading partner and investor, and accounts for 11% of India’s global trade.

 

About BTIA:

  • In June 2007, India and the EU began negotiations on a broad-based Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) in Brussels, Belgium.
  • These negotiations are pursuant to the commitment made by political leaders at the 7th India-EU Summit held in Helsinki on 13th October 2006 to move towards negotiations for a broad-based trade and investment agreement on the basis of the report of India-EU High Level Technical Group.

 

Significance:

  • India and the EU expect to promote bilateral trade by removing barriers to trade in goods and services and investment across all sectors of the economy.
  • Both parties believe that a comprehensive and ambitious agreement that is consistent with WTO rules and principles would open new markets and would expand opportunities for Indian and EU businesses.

 

What’s the issue now?

Negotiations have been languishing since 2013 when the talks collapsed over certain demands from the EU such as greater market access for automobiles, wine and spirits, and further opening up of the financial services sector such as banking, insurance and e-commerce.

  • The EU also wanted labour, environment and government procurement to be included in the talks.

India’s demand for easier work visa and study visa norms as well as data secure status, that would make it easier for European companies to outsource business to India, were also not received enthusiastically by the EU countries.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. BTIA- overview.
  2. What is Brexit?
  3. EU vs Eurozone.

Overview of:

  1. South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA).
  2. India-ASEAN Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA).
  3. India-Korea Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

Sources: the Hindu.