India, EU to launch talks on investment protection, GIs

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 06, 2021

Other deliverables include connectivity partnership, taskforce on AI and digital partnership

India and the EU are likely to announce launch of talks on an investment protection agreement and Geographical Indications (GIs) when the two agree to resume negotiations on a bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA), that has been suspended for about eight years, at the India-EU Leaders’ meet on Saturday, an EU officialsaid.

“The EU fully understands India’s decision to suspend exports of Covax because of its pandemic crisis and the two sides will also work on a pact on securing raw materials for medical products and keeping the supply chains open,” the official added.

Other deliverables include a connectivity partnership, a taskforce on AI and digital partnership and an agreement in the area of super computing. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet European Council President Charles Michel, President of the European Commission Ursula Von Der Leyen and heads of the 27 EU member states, at the virtual event on May 8.

‘Comprehensive talks’

“Talks that we are resuming with India will be comprehensive, covering all areas of trade. We are looking at full and ambitious and very comprehensive set of negotiations,” the official said.

The negotiations are likely to take place on separate tracks but will be part of the overall FTA formally called the Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), the official added.

India had terminated its Bilateral Investment Protection agreements with a large number of partners including the EU countries in 2017 on the ground that the pacts exposed the country to avoidable international arbitration. Since then, India has re-negotiated investment protection agreements with some countries.

“The India-EU investment protection agreement will Europeanise the arrangement that India has with individual member States so far,” the official said.

The BTIA negotiations, launched in 2007, were suspended in 2013 due to differences over market access issues for sectors such as automobiles, wines & spirits, insurance and banking and movement of Indian workers to EU countries.

“We believe that in the current atmosphere of the very positive momentum, we can make progress on these longstanding irritants we are all very much aware of, the source said. The EU is India’s largest trading partner and one of the largest sources of FDI in the country.

Published on May 06, 2021

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