Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement
- India and the European Union (EU) have been negotiating a free trade agreement (FTA), officially called a Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) since 2007 but have not been able to conclude it because of differences in some important areas.
Issues with BTIA
- The key differences arise over the movement of professionals. India is demanding greater and liberal market access for its service professionals.
- India is also seeking data secure nation status by the EU. India is currently not among the nations considered data secure by the EU.
- On the other hand, the EU is demanding significant duty cuts in automobiles, wines, spirits and dairy products, and a strong intellectual property regime.
‘Data Secure Nation’ status
- The lack of ‘Data Secure Nation’ status from the EU prevents flow of sensitive data, such as patient information for telemedicine, to India.
- The existing data protection laws in the EU (known as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)) allow such information to only flow into a country that has been designated as being data secure.
- The matter is particularly crucial as it will have a bearing on Indian IT companies wanting market access.
Why in News?
- India and the European Union agreed to relaunch free trade negotiations by resuming talks that were suspended in 2013 for the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement during the latest EU-India leaders meeting.
- The meeting also discussed Covid recovery plans and vaccine cooperation, adopted a Connectivity Partnership document outlining plans to cooperate on digital and infrastructure projects.
- The India-EU connectivity partnership also committed the two sides to working together on digital, energy, transport, people to people connectivity that was transparent, viable, inclusive, sustainable, comprehensive, with a rules-based approach.
- The partnership is seen as a response to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and comes as the EU’s negotiations with China on their Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) have run into trouble.
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