India-EU Trade Pact Could Increase Bilateral Investment by 30 Percent
NEW DELHI—Five years after trade talks between India and the European Union began, a final agreement is expected by the end of the year that will open up sectors of both economies and see a 30 percent increase in bilateral foreign direct investment.
In a statement released April 18, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said: “Both sides are committed to a balanced, ambitious agreement by 2011. It is hoped that this agreement will lead to an increase in opportunities for market access in both goods and services for each other.”
Last year, the two sides made headway in cooperation on civilian nuclear power, renewable energy, aviation, science and technology, industry, and manufacturing.
Immigration, Some Trade Issues Unsettled
Following the latest and 12th round of negotiations in New Delhi on the Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) earlier this month, a source in the Commerce Ministry told BNA that only a few, albeit sensitive, issues remained to be ironed out.
“The differences really center on whether we are prepared to reduce duties on auto parts imports, on wines and spirits, and issues such as enforcing intellectual property rights. In turn, we want Indian professionals to get easier visas to work in the EU,” he said.
The EU would like India to slash the 150 percent duties on wines and spirits, which make them prohibitive for Indian consumers and keep wine consumption down to just one teaspoon per person per year.
The European car industry also wants India to lower duties on auto parts and cars, but India has been protective about its domestic auto industry and has so far, in its other recent free trade pacts, refused to cut tariffs on cars and car parts.
India has recently signed bilateral free trade agreements with Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)…