First Round of Negotiations On a Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and India
The first round of EU-India FTA negotiations took place in New Delhi between 27 June and 1 July 2022, with parallel negotiations taking place on investment protection and geographical indications (GIs). The round took place in hybrid mode, with some sessions held entirely by videoconference, and all in-person sessions having additional colleagues joining by videoconference. During the round, the two sides discussed all the chapters to be included in the future FTA except for Trade and Sustainable Development, Institutional Provisions, Exceptions and Final Provisions. The negotiations were based on the 18 textual proposals submitted by the EU side. However, in the case of Trade Remedies, the Indian side had also tabled its own textual proposal. Additionally, the Indian side announced that it would table textual proposals across EU proposed chapters in advance of the next round, possibly including full alternative chapters. The second round of EU-India FTA negotiations will be held in Brussels from 3 to 7 October 2022.
Details per negotiating area:
Trade in Goods: The discussions covered all the articles of the EU-proposed text on Trade in Goods. The atmosphere was cordial and touched upon all sensitive topics of both sides. The discussions pointed at areas where a better understanding of each other’s policies and sensitivities is needed. Rules of Origin: The talks covered all the articles of the EU text proposal for Rules of Origin. Constructive discussions took place between the two sides with a view to identifying areas of convergence and of divergence. Customs and Trade Facilitation: The first round allowed the two sides to go through the whole EU text proposal for Customs and Trade Facilitation. The talks took place in a very good atmosphere. India indicated for each provision where there was common ground and where there would be a need for further deliberations. Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS): The two sides worked on the basis of the EU proposed text for SPS. The session was devoted to explaining and clarifying the EU proposal. The Indian negotiator requested detailed clarification about the trade facilitation measures proposed in the chapter. Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT): The negotiations were conducted in a positive and constructive atmosphere. The EU negotiator presented the EU’s proposal for TBT and the two sides discussed all the article and annexes. Trade Remedies: The EU and Indian negotiators had a constructive discussion on the textual proposals on Trade Remedies submitted by the two sides and raised their initial concerns. Services and Investment: The EU negotiators explained in detail the full EU proposal on Services and Investment. India sought clarifications on many aspects of the EU approach and questioned some important elements thereof. Digital Trade: The EU negotiator presented in detail the EU’s proposal for Digital Trade and explained the rationale for each provision. The Indian side welcomed the overall EU text and commented on each provision. Government Procurement: Government procurement was discussed based on the EU draft text. The two sides covered more than half of the text and most of it was agreed, though important elements of the text remained bracketed. Intellectual Property (IPR): The EU and Indian negotiators started the discussions on IPR based on the EU text proposal. They had a first exchange to identify main areas of convergence and divergence. The detailed discussion of the provisions proposed by the EU covered the Sub-sections on copyright, trademarks and designs. Anticompetitive Conduct, Merger Control and Subsidies: The two sides held positive discussions based on the EU’s text proposal. They reached a general understanding of the articles related to anticompetitive conduct and merger control, and identified a few points where further reflection is required. The two sides also held discussions on the articles related to subsidies. State-Owned Enterprises: The two sides held a constructive dialogue on the content of the EU-proposed chapter on State-Owned Enterprises. Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs): The EU negotiator gave a presentation of the EU SME policy. The two sides exchanged views on the SME Chapter based on the EU text proposal. Negotiators agreed to give presentations of their existing information-sharing tools and websites during the next round. Energy and Raw Materials: The EU and India negotiators had initial discussions of the EU’s proposed chapter on Energy and Raw Materials. The focus was on clarifying the EU proposal and promoting mutual understanding of each other’s respective priorities and challenges. Transparency: The talks were conducted in a positive atmosphere. The EU and Indian negotiators discussed all provisions of the EU’s proposed chapter on Transparency to gain a better understanding of each other’s sensitivities and concerns. Good Regulatory Practices: The negotiations were conducted in a positive atmosphere. The negotiators discussed all provisions of the EU’s proposed chapter for Good Regulatory Practices. Sustainable Food Systems (SFS): The two sides worked on the basis of the EU proposed text for SFS. The round was devoted to explaining and clarifying the EU proposal. Dispute Settlement: The EU and Indian negotiators had a detailed discussion on the EU's proposed text for Dispute Settlement. The two sides clarified a number of provisions and gained a better understanding of each other’s concerns.