The India-EU FTA and its Implications on India’s Food and Farm Sector
Through this trade agreement, EU is seeking to cut India’s tariffs down to zero or near zero levels for 90% of agricultural products. This will clear the way for EU members to dump their cheap subsidised agricultural products in India. With domestic subsidies and price controls that may be cut, the unorganised sector is particularly vulnerable. According to the FAO, India and Bangladesh faced the largest number of import surges of agriculture products in Asia over a 25 year period. The India-EU FTA would come in the way of applying special safeguard measures against that. Meanwhile, EU’s Market Access Advisory Committee, its working groups and teams in privy with corporate lobbyists, work precisely against what they together consider priority barriers that prevent EU members’ entry into the Indian market. For instance, EU is seeking accelerated access in the dairy sector. The European Dairy Association considers India’s import taxes ‘unrealistically high’. Though dairy products are on India’s sensitive list, EU is putting pressure on the Indian side to open up its market particularly for European cheeses.