The EU and India hope to increase their trade in both goods and services and investment through the Free Trade Agreement negotiations launched in 2007.
Following the EU-India Summit in February 2012 negotiations entered an intense phase. Important issues include market access for goods, the overall ambition of the services package and achieving a meaningful chapter on government procurement.
- India is an important trade partner for the EU and an emerging global economic power. The country combines a sizable and growing market of more than 1 billion people.
- The value of EU-India trade grew from €28.6 billion in 2003 to €79.9 billion in 2011.
- EU investment in India more than tripled between 2003 and 2010: going from €759million in 2003 to €3 billion in 2010.
- Trade in commercial services tripled during the same time period, going from €5.2billion in 2002 to €17.9 billion in 2010.
EU and India
Dismantling trade barriers in India
The European Commission's Trade and Investments Barriers Report, published in March 2012, points out that some progress has been made to dismantle trade barriers in India:
- Two trade barriers were fully removed in 2012: export restrictions on cotton and security requirements for telecommunication equipment.
- Progress has also been achieved with regard to sanitary and phyto-sanitary rules.
- No positive movement has been seen in the area of equity caps.
- India's industrial policies contain trade-restrictive elements.
- The report also identified India's national manufacturing policy as a key priority for reform.
EU-India trade negotiations
The negotiations cover:
- access to each other's markets, for goods, services and to public procurement contracts,
- the framework for investment
- the rules that frame trade, such as intellectual property and competition
- sustainable development, growth in trade is in tandem with the environment, social and labour rights.
India has embarked on a process of economic reform and progressive integration with the global economy that aims to put it on a path of rapid and sustained growth. However, India's trade regime and regulatory environment remains comparatively restrictive (for example see the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index). India still maintains substantial tariff and non-tariff barriers that hinder trade with the EU. In addition to tariff barriers to imports, India also imposes a number of non-tariff barriers in the form of quantitative restrictions, import licensing, mandatory testing and certification for a large number of products, as well as complicated and lengthy customs procedures.
With its combination of rapid growth, complementary trade baskets and relatively high market protection, India is an obvious partner for a free trade agreement (FTA) for the EU.
The parameters for an ambitious FTA were set out in the report of the EU-India High Level Trade Group in October 2006, which was tasked with assessing the viability of an FTA between the EU and India. Other studies have reinforced the economic potential of an FTA between the EU and India, notably a sustainability impact assessment was carried out by the EU.
Negotiations for a comprehensive FTA were started in June 2007 and are ongoing. This would be one of the most significant trade agreements, touching the lives of 1.7 billion people.
India enjoys trade preferences with the EU under the Generalised Scheme of Preferences.
To assist India in its efforts to better integrate into the world economy – with a view to further enhancing bilateral trade and investment ties – the EU is providing trade related technical assistance to India. This is part of the EU's assistance programmes with India.
Trading with India
- Importing into the EU from India
- EU trade defence measures on imports from India
- Exporting from the EU to India
- The EU is present on the ground in India
- Trade relations are part of the EU's overall political and economic relations with India
- European Business and Technology Centre, India
- India is a member of the World Trade Organisation