EU-India FTA: Who Wants a Deal?

By Shalini Bhutani | Commentary | March 23, 2021

The European Union (EU) is keen to enter into a trade agreement with India. EU was formed in 1993, and India was amongst the first countries to establish ties with this political and economic group. A cooperation agreement was signed between them in 1994. A decade later, in 2004, the relationship was upgraded to a ‘Strategic Partnership.’ The 2005 Joint Action Plan that followed committed both sides to develop trade and investment. Ever since then, both sides have been trying to agree on a trade and investment deal.


In 2007 EU-India launched negotiations for a bilateral trade and investment agreement (BTIA). But negotiations did not…

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Can the “Third Way” Ensure Equitable Access to COVID-19 Vaccines for All Countries?

By Kavaljit Singh | Commentary | March 5, 2021

On March 1, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala took over as Director-General of the World Trade Organization. She is the first woman and the first African to serve as the Director-General of the WTO. These are indeed remarkable achievements that need to be noticed and celebrated. As she holds dual Nigerian and US citizenship, Okonjo-Iweala is also the first American to hold this position.

Addressing the WTO General Council immediately after taking office, Okonjo-Iweala outlined numerous challenges faced by the WTO in the post-pandemic world and the need to pursue necessary reforms to keep the organization relevant.

She also called upon members to shun business as usual approach and…

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India’s Vaccine Diplomacy: A Potent Tool to Fight COVID-19 in the Global South?

By Biswajit Dhar | Commentary | February 15, 2021

For over two decades, India has acquired the reputation of being the ‘pharmacy of the world’ as its strong generic pharmaceutical industry has supplied affordable medicines to the global markets. Exports of medicines from India, which were around a billion dollars at the turn of the century, had increased to over $20 billion in 2019-20.

Indian companies had made critical interventions during the HIV/AIDS pandemic by supplying affordable antiretroviral medicines to African countries when the major pharmaceutical producers had demanded excessively high prices for these medicines. Subsequently, after the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria took shape as a multi-stakeholder initiative to reduce…

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India’s Not So Sweet WTO Sugar Story

By Shalini Bhutani | Commentary | December 18, 2020

On December 16, 2020, the Union Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved a subsidy of Rs.35 billion to sugar mills for the export of 60 lakh tonnes of sugar during the October 2020-September 2021 season. In 2018 and 2019, the Government of India had approved the sugar export incentive before October 1, but this year the approval was delayed. Sugar mills will now export their surplus sugar stock. This is supposed to help sugar mills clear their outstanding dues to sugarcane farmers.

India is the world’s second-largest sugar producer (after Brazil) and among the top five sugar exporters. According to official data,…

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What Does India’s Exit from RCEP Indicate?

By Biswajit Dhar | Commentary | December 7, 2020

On November 15, 2020, 15 East Asian countries agreed to take their economic integration several notches higher by forging the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the largest free trade agreement (FTA) ever. In 2019, RCEP members accounted for about 30 percent of world output and population and 28 percent of world trade. But about 44 percent of their total trade was intra-RCEP, which is a major incentive for the members of this agreement to agree to the deal, for this could contribute to the strengthening of the regional value chains. This may well prove propitious for the RCEP member countries in their efforts to…

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