EU FTA negotiations with India: The question of liberalisation of public procurement
Authors: Khorana, S. and Asthana, A.N.
Journal: Asia Europe Journal
The proposed bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) between India and the European Union has thrown up many contentious issues among which public procurement is an important one. While India is reluctant to include public procurement in FTA, the European Union (EU) has been insisting that FTA without liberalisation of public procurement is not on the negotiating table. What makes India particularly attractive to the EU is not only the size of its public procurement market but also its rapidly growing economy and demand for infrastructure which presents EU firms with an opportunity to gain market access into this sector under the FTA setting. The EU is insisting on national treatment and non-discrimination as also transparency in Indian procurement system. Indian companies aspire to crack open public procurement market in the EU by entering it through the services sector. However, they are finding EU procedures for ‘data adequacy’ and policies relating to work visa difficult. India’s reluctance to negotiate government procurement under the FTA framework is also attributed partly to administrative costs required for making changes to existing framework and for establishing institutions to implement bilateral obligations. Though several deadlines have been missed, an agreement that could bring mutual benefit for both the EU and India is not out of reach.