EU-India trade talks: base them on values, says Parliament
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EU-India trade talks: base them on values, says Parliament

Restarting trade and investment talks between EU and India are welcome but EU norms need to be protected in the final deal, says the Parliament.

The resolution, adopted on Tuesday by 482 votes, with 107 votes against and 40 abstentions, sets out what the Parliament expects from EU-India trade talks, relaunched on 17 June. Parliament states it welcomes the restart of talks on a trade agreement, a stand-alone investment protection agreement and an agreement on geographical indications.

Keep up the values

While there is “untapped potential for stronger, deeper and mutually beneficial economic cooperation” between the EU and its strategic partner, this should happen only as long as European values and standards, including rule of law, democracy, as well as human, women’s and labour rights, are respected. A future trade deal should also be in alignment with the European Green Deal, the Farm to Fork strategy and the Paris Agreement, insist MEPs.

Grant more market access

Parliament expects swift solutions to long-standing market access problems for EU companies in various sectors, such as cars, car parts, agriculture, pharmaceuticals. They encourage India to eliminate existing technical barriers including various certification requirements for medical devices, toys, drinks, food and steel. India should prohibit discriminatory “Buy national” policies that discourage imports.

While the resolution acknowledges that agriculture, which accounts for 41 percent of employment in India, is a sensitive issue, it states that “greater market access for agricultural products should not result in giving either party an unfair competitive advantage”.

MEPs also call for specific chapters aimed at easing access for small and medium sized enterprises, protecting intellectual property rights and enshrining and enforcing sustainable development targets.

India’s hesitancy over Ukraine

The resolution expresses MEPs regret about India’s hesitancy to condemn the Russian Federation’s military aggression against Ukraine. It nevertheless calls for the cooperation of the EU and India to address the repercussions on food security caused by the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine.