EU to denounce India’s unfair ‘buy national’ practice during FTA talks

The EU wants India to ban what it calls ‘discriminatory national buying practices’, including some linked to the Make in India and Atmanirbhar Bharat initiatives, saying they aim to foster domestic manufacturing, discourage imports and therefore “significantly affect market access for EU businesses”, according to a text approved by the European Parliament last month, which will guide the 27-member bloc’s negotiations for a free trade agreement. exchange (FTA) with New Delhi.

It calls for a comprehensive chapter on public procurement to uphold the principles of transparency and non-discrimination in public procurement through effective redress procedures. It calls for a review of any technical barriers to trade in India in ICT products, medical devices, toys, alcoholic beverages, polished diamonds, agricultural products, food and steel. At the same time, he wants India to go beyond the WTO agreement on technical barriers to trade and “ensure that there is no duplication of testing and certification , and streamlines licensing regimes, quality control orders, and clinical investigations.”

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While the text encourages negotiators to find quick solutions to long-standing market access problems in all sectors, it opposes “compromising on content in favor of a quick conclusion”. This effectively means that the EU will not rush to make a deal just to have a deal. The text is based on the European Parliament resolution of 5 July on future trade and investment cooperation between the EU and India. It should be used as a guide for EU officials when negotiating with their Indian counterparts for the FTA, sources told FE.

After 16 rounds of talks between 2007 and 2013, formal FTA negotiations were stalled by deep differences, with the EU insisting that India remove or reduce high import duties on sensitive products such as automobiles, alcoholic beverages and dairy products. India’s request included better access to the EU market for its skilled professionals. Both parties were reluctant to access what the other wanted. However, FTA talks resumed in June after a nearly nine-year hiatus, following renewed interest from both sides who are ready to take the negotiations to their logical conclusion. The next round of FTA negotiations is expected to take place in October.

The EU has drawn up a list of areas where outstanding issues need to be resolved. These include cars, auto parts, agriculture, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) irritants, government procurement, non-tariff barriers such as quality, certification, compliance with international standards and localization requirements.

The text encourages negotiators “to make good progress towards achieving a comprehensive, mutually beneficial, state-of-the-art, WTO-consistent and rules-based FTA, prioritizing areas conducive to sustainable growth and by tackling inequalities and the digital and economic transition”. just green transitions”.

The EU advocates for a complete elimination of customs duties and quotas on a reciprocal basis, with a focus on sensitive products, it wants to ensure that reductions in duties will not be compensated by an increase in taxes and national levies, including at the state level, on imported products . He also wants faster, more transparent and cheaper customs, as well as a comprehensive one-stop electronic certification process and the removal of disproportionate import bans.

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