India-European Union (EU) relations have been on an upswing in the past few years. The EU is India’s largest regional trading partner, while India is the EU’s 9th largest trading partner. India’s bilateral trade with EU in 2017-18 stood at $76.90 billion with India’s exports valued at $30.35 billion and India’s imports from the EU at $46.55 billion. Over the period April 2000 to June 2017, FDI flows from EU countries totalled $83.7 billion. There are more than 6,000 EU companies currently present in India, providing direct and indirect employment to over 6 million people. Against this background, the EU-India Free Trade Agreement is a natural culmination of robust economic relations. However, the reality is in stark contrast as with almost 16 rounds of negotiations, the agreement has not yet been finalised. The paper explores the negotiations between India and the EU highlighting the contentious issues, and what next for the agreement.
Background to the Negotiations
The diplomatic relations between India and EU were established in the 1960s, however, the 1994 Cooperation Agreement opened the door for larger political interactions between the two. In recognition of both sides’ political and economic importance, the EU-India Strategic Partnership was signed in 2004 to enable the partners to better address complex international issues. For this objective, at the 2005 Summit