SpicyIP Tidbit: Free Trade Agreement- No smooth sailing here.

The chances of the Free Trade Agreement between India and the EU materializing seem bleak now with differences between the parties continuing after another round of negotiations.

As The Hindu reports, “Although both sides have stated that good progress had been made in the first three rounds, officials in the 27-member block European Union feel that signing of the FTA by this year-end was near impossible.” While the parties have postponed the next round of negotiations, officials do not seem optimistic at arriving at any sort of consensus before the EU-India Summit later this year in France.

The FTA was to be entered into by the European Commission to regulate issues such as competition policy, the rights of foreign investors, open government purchasing practices as well as environmental, social and human rights clauses. However, sharp differences arose with respect to Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), competition, agriculture, public procurement, market access and transparency.

As of now news reports suggest that the both parties require a better understanding of their positions on such issues, before any agreement is arrived at. “Although goods (agricultural and non-agricultural) have never been a problem area, services, IPR and government procurement are not the areas for hurried negotiations,” Annette Grunberg said.

Another report on the article can be found here.

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