India asked to extend trade pact with EU nations; wants ‘data secure nation’ status in return

The European Union has asked India to consider extending its bilateral investment pacts with several EU-member countries by six months as the pacts are expiring soon. The EU feels that the absence of the treaties could adversely impact trade ties and FTA talks.

In a high-level European Parliament delegation about India's views about the Trump administration and discuss various key issues concerning India-EU ties, EU also expressed concern over situation in Jammu and Kashmir and called for improvement in ties between India and Pakistan.

Geoffrey Van Orden, Chair of the EU delegation for relations with India said that EU wants New Delhi to renew the investment deals first to take forward the stalled FTA talks.

"It will be helpful if trade and investment pacts can be extended for six months. The issue has become a problem for the FTA talks," he said.

India's existing trade and investment pacts with The Netherlands have come to an end in November while while similar pacts with several other EU countries will expire in the coming months.

According to Orden, the expiry of the pacts will make it difficult for the European countries to go for fresh investments in India. He also said that the EU want India to first give the extension to the pacts and then move ahead with the FTA which is known as EU-India Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA).

On Kashmir, he said EU is always sensitive about issues relating to human rights violations, adding certain forces do not want India-Pakistan relations to improve.

On the other hand, India asked for granting 'data secure nation' status to it by the EU. The country is among nations not considered data secure by the EU. The matter is crucial as it will have a bearing on Indian IT companies wanting market access.
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