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India hopes for FTA with Europe

India is interested in signing a free trade agreement with the European Union. India and EU had started talks for the FTA, dubbed Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement, in 2007 and the last meeting was held in October 2014. Till now, 16 rounds of negotiations have taken place. India has agreed on many issues such as permitting 49 per cent foreign direct investment in insurance sector, 100 per cent foreign direct investment in telecom and easing of foreign investments norms in the banking sector. A model bilateral investment treaty has been approved by India.

India has expressed her willingness to conclude a balances agreement with the EU. The trade in goods between India and EU was $98.5 billion in 2014-15. India has raised the issue of data security status, Mode-4 ceilings (movement of professionals), seamless intra-corporate movement and real market access in terms of sanitary and phyto-sanitary (norms related with plants and animals), and technical barriers to trade measures adopted by the union, while Europe wants a duty cut on automobiles, wines and spirits. However, discussions were stalled amid the downturn in Europe and the EU’s focus on concluding the transatlantic trade and investment partnership agreement with the US.