Reciprocal Terms Missing in the Proposed India-EU Pact

By Kavaljit Singh | Op-Ed, The Economic Times | April 7, 2009

Since 2007, India and European Union (EU) are negotiating a free trade agreement (FTA). The negotiations do not merely cover trade in goods but also include liberalisation of trade and investment in banking services. EU is seeking greater market access and national treatment for European banks through cross-border supply and direct investments.

Unlike other bilateral agreements, the potential implications of India-EU FTA would be far-reaching since nine EU-based banks together controlled 65% of total assets of foreign banks in India in 2008. By asset size, out of the top 10 foreign banks in India, six are European. Since 2000, several European economies have registered a significant growth in their banking services net…

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Europe Doesn’t Need Sovereign Wealth Funds

By Kavaljit Singh | Commentary, | November 20, 2008

French President Nicholas Sarkozy has proposed that European nations create sovereign wealth funds to protect national companies from foreign “predators.” This column says that idea is protectionist and without merit. Emerging economies establish sovereign wealth funds to invest foreign reserves or commodity revenue – not to bail out domestic firms and stifle global competition.

In a hard-hitting speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on October 21, French President Nicolas Sarkozy proposed that European countries create sovereign wealth funds to protect national companies from foreign “predators.” “I’m asking that we think about the possibility of creating, each one of us, sovereign funds and maybe these national sovereign funds could now and again…

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Debating Financial Services Liberalization

By Kavaljit Singh | Letters to Editor, Financial Times | July 22-August 6, 2008

Give Priority to Financial Services

Financial Times, July 22, 2008

From Sir Stephen Wright and Mr John Cooke.

Sir, Ministers from some 40 countries are meeting in Geneva to decide the fate of the Doha round of multilateral trade talks. It is vital that they achieve a breakthrough, and lay the foundation for a lasting agreement. The Doha round offers a unique opportunity to address the barriers to global trade that continue to hold back the world economy. This would bring benefits to developed and developing countries alike, and would offer some palliative to the bleak prospects facing the global economy. The focus of the negotiations so far has been on agriculture and the tariff barriers to trade in…

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Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund to Invest in India

By Kavaljit Singh | Commentary | February 3, 2008

The recent decision by Norway’s Government Pension Fund–Global (GPF) to invest $2 billion in Indian markets has come at a time when most foreign institutional investors are fleeing the markets. This is a very significant development as there are very few institutional investors in the global markets who can provide liquidity when it is most needed. However, the true significance of GPF lies in its role as an ethical and socially responsible investor. The GPF was in the news last year when it sold stake in the UK-listed Vedanta Resources for alleged environmental damage and labour rights violations in its four Indian subsidiaries. The GPF is the second…

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Norwegian Medicine for Vedanta

By Kavaljit Singh | Column, Civil Society | January 2008

On 19 November, the Norwegian Embassy in New Delhi received some unusual visitors. Even the police and security personnel stationed in the heavily-guarded Chanakyapuri area of Delhi where the Norwegian and other embassies are located could not figure out the purpose of these visitors. Though they were Indian citizens, ethnically they belong to a distinct tribal minority group called Dongria Kondh. Dressed in their traditional attire, these tribal representatives came all the way from the remote Niyamgiri hills of Orissa to express gratitude to the Norwegian government for removing UK based Vedanta Resources Plc from its investment portfolio. What was even more perplexing was…

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