India, EU re-negotiate over free trade

India is looking for greater market access in the European bloc for items such as textiles and leather at the ongoing talks in Brussels.

With US pursuing protectionist policies, India and European Union have resumed talks to bring to life the stalled Free Trade Agreement (FTA). 
 
India is looking for greater market access in the European bloc for items such as textiles and leather at the ongoing talks in Brussels. 
 
“With the US adopting an aggressive posture against its trade partners, including the EU, the bloc may be in a more flexible mood this time round. It could be a last political effort by both sides to save the free trade talks,” a government official told BusinessLine.
 
Talks over India-EU FTA, also called the Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), began in 2007. However, it could not be realised as both sides had issues over market access issues.
 
In 2013, the trade agreement talks came to a complete standstill. The EU was unhappy with India’s offers for items such as wines and spirits and automobiles as well as financial services and retail. 
 
India, on the other hand, wanted more market access for key manufacturing items, grant of ‘data secure’ status that would bring more off-shore business to its companies and greater flexibility in H1-B visa rules.
 
However, the protectionist policies of US government has made both sides to re-think and, hence, both sides may come up with more acceptive approach.
 
“The EU, and also to some extent India, have been on the receiving side of the abrasive trade measures of the Donald Trump-regime in the US. Hard positions may see some softening.” 
 
The EU accounts for about 17 per cent of India’s total exports.
 
Source: Businessline

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