13th EU-India Summit was held in March, 2016 in Brussels. Brussels is the capital of Belgium and is also having the headquarters of European Union. To attend this meeting with the President of European Council and the President of European Commission, our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, traveled to Brussels.
European Union is a group of 28 European Countries. European council is most powerful body of European Union, Prime Ministers or Presidents of EU countries are members of European council. Current President of EU-Council is Donald Tusk, he is former Prime Minister of Holland. Tusk was elected as President on 1st December, 2014 for his two years term.
Another body is European Commission, it is executive wing of European Union. Jean Cleude Juncker, former Prime Minister of Luxembourg is current President of European Commission.
- Broadbased Trade and Investment Agreement: There is no significant breakthrough observed in BTIA prespective druing the 13th EU-India Summit.
- EU-India Agenda for Action 2020: A Roadmap of EU-India Relationship for five years.
- EU-India Water Partnership: Environmental issues, Clean Ganga and Clean India Campaign
- EU-India Science and Tech Cooperation Agreement
- A Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility
- Loan Assistance to Lucknow Metro of 450 million Euro.
EU-India Relationship Issues
Before this summit, 12th EU-India Summit was held in 2012 in New Delhi. The gap of four years between two consecutive meetings itself shows the EU-India relation downhill shift.
Italian Marine Issue
Italian Marines opened a indiscriminate gun fire on Indian fishermen resulted in death to two. this incident became a major cause of roughness in India-EU relations. Italy has taken this matter to UNCLOS for arbitration.
The issue is related to charges pressed against the Italian Marines, these charges can attract them death sentence which is the reason of Our inability to resolve the issue has made it
Trade and Investment Agreement
India is in Strategic Partnership with European Union since 2004. India became sixth country to be strategic partner of EU after United States, Canada, Japan, China and Russia. Even now there are 10 strategic Partners of EU.
Strategic Partnership is a long term in nature. Earlier EU-India relationship was economic only. But after this, it has broadened into defense, foreign policy, international terrorism, strategic, political etc.
Trade between India and EU remains $ 98.5 billion during 2014-15, out of this figure our export was of $ 49.3 billion and import was of $ 49.2 billion. In this way we have a perfectly balanced trade relation. (With China our export is around 20b but import is around 60b, which is highly skewed.)
EU is a major contributor to our FDI, even India is investing in EU countries.
We agreed to eliminate tariff for more than 90 percent items. But the problem is rest of 10 percent –
- India wants EU to offer reduced tariff on 95 percent items.
- EU wants India to offer reduced tariff on 98 percent items.
EU wants India to reduce tariff on Imported Cars, Wine and Spirits, Dairy Products. EU is also interested in IPR Standards in India. Specially on the issue related to Evergreening of Drug Patents. In the Evergreening of Patents we have serious difference in opinion. EU members also want us to make improved Environmental and Labour Standards and incorporate it in the agreement. (Drug patents are generally given for 20 years, but drugs makers by making some non-effective changes in composition try to evergreen their patents.)
Indian demand is more related to service sector like, free movement of human capital (labour), Data Secure Status for India, Export of Spirits (made of molasses), freedom to export generic drugs, FDI in multi-brand retail.
Advantage of Trade and Investment Agreement
- Both India and EU economies are complimentary in nature with less overlapping.
- The share of India-EU bilateral trade is 1.5 percent of EU’s external trade.
India’s bilateral trade with EU is currently 20-21 percent of India’s total external trade.
1990 :- 40 percent of India’s external trade
2010 :- 25 percent of India’s external trade
2015-16 :- 20 – 21 percent of India’s external trade
3. India has surplus manpower, EU is requiring services from India.
4. Agriculture: India and EU both opposed any further liberalization in Agricultural Sector in Doha Round of WTO. European agriculture is highly subsidized; India is afraid of getting flooded by foreign agri products as Indian agri is subsistence agriculture. So, both of us India, and EU is on same page in this regard.
5. FDI from EU will increase by at least 30% which will be a boost for India.
Signing of this agreement is not going to be an easy affair as there are 28 countries (parties).
New Developments – BREXIT
British is planning to exit from EU, for this a referendum is going to be held in June. This is going to make EU further weak as it already suffered from Greek Crisis, Refugee Crisis. Thus it is definitely going to be a tough negotiation in future too, as we can not expect much concession.
India and Europe are having similar multicultural diversity, both are victim of terrorism and struggling to integrate their stakeholders. India and EU both are on same page as far as issue of Afghanistan and Pakistan sponsored terrorism is concerned.
It will be interesting to watch further development of relation between India and EU, both of us are expecting a more talks and meetings to resolve contentions.
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