Since 2014, the Government of India has joined and established key regional and global economic partnerships for the mutual benefit of all countries concerned. As an example of this strategy, the Look East policy has evolved to Act East, in which India is keen to engage more with countries in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Rim. India has dedicated a similar focus to the developed economies of Western Europe, North America, and the Far East, as well as to the developing economies of South America, Central Asia, and Africa. The Government has also been promoting trade cooperation through blocs such as the ASEAN, BIMSTEC, BRICS, and others.
India currently has 13 Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)/Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs) with other countries/regions. In addition, it has 6 limited coverage Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs). An FTA Monitoring Committee has been constituted with representation from government departments, trade and industry bodies to identify issues relating to misuse of FTA provisions and recommend action. More details
The government is working on a revamped strategy for entering into free trade agreements (FTAs) to ensure that FTAs result in providing economic and strategic benefits. Further, the focus shall be on alliances with “peaceful” countries, especially those with which India does not have a significant trade deficit.
The India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA), signed on 2 April 2022, is the first trade agreement of India with a developed country after more than a decade. The Agreement encompasses cooperation across the entire gamut of bilateral economic and commercial relations between India and Australia, and covers areas like Trade in Goods, Rules of Origin, Trade in Services, Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures, Dispute Settlement, Movement of Natural Persons, Telecom, Customs Procedures, Pharmaceutical products, and Cooperation in other areas. More details
On 18 February 2022, India and UAE resumed the historic Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) aimed at boosting goods trade to US$ 100 billion over next five years. India-UAE CEPA, operationalised on 1 May 2022, provides for automatic authorization for Indian pharma products, strict rules of origin and safeguard mechanism against surge in imports. CEPA is likely to generate 1 million jobs across labour-intensive sectors such as Textiles, Gems & Jewellery, Leather, Footwear, Pharma, Agriculture products, Medical Devices, Plastics, Sports Goods and Automobiles. More details Addressing the ‘World Government Summit_- Sparking the Growth of Emerging Economies’ in Dubai on 29 March 2022, India’s Commerce Minister stated that India- UAE trade under CEPA has the potential to touch USD 250 billion by 2030.
India and Canada held the fifth Ministerial Dialogue on Trade & Investment (MDTI) on 11 March 2022. Both countries agreed to formally re-launch the negotiations for India-Canada Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and also consider an Interim Agreement or Early Progress Trade Agreement (EPTA) that could bring early commercial gains to both the countries. More details
India is also looking to advance the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with Bangladesh, aimed at further scaling up trade and economic engagement as collaborators and not competitors. More details
In August 2021, India and EU resumed negotiations for a balanced, ambitious, comprehensive and mutually beneficial Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which were formally re-launched at a joint event held in Brussels on 17 June 2022. The first round of negotiations was concluded on 1 July 2022, and the next round is scheduled for September 2022.
Switzerland has recently pitched for expeditious completion of negotiations for a proposed free trade agreement between India and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), a regional trading bloc comprising Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland
In addition to the above, the government has informed that there is a very positive momentum in terms of FTAs with the UK, Australia, Canada, UAE, Israel and the GCC countries, and that India Is working towards Early Harvest Agreements with UK and Australia.
On 29 July 2022, India and UK concluded the fifth round of talks for an India-UK FTA, on course to conclude the majority of talks on a comprehensive and balanced Free Trade Agreement by the end of October 2022.
India-Australia CECA negotiations are at an advance stage. Both countries are expected to complete negotiations for the Interim Agreement soon. Final agreement is expected to be completed by end of 2022.
In a Joint Press Communique issued on 11 January 2022, India and Korea declared that ongoing trade talks are aimed at achieving the trade target of US$ 50 billion before 2030, and to impart fresh momentum to the discussions on CEPA up-gradation negotiations. More details
On 13 January 2022, India and United Kingdom formally launched negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement. The FTA is expected to facilitate the target of doubling bilateral trade between India and United Kingdom by 2030. Both parties have also agreed to consider the option of an Interim Agreement that generates early benefits for both countries. More details. On 17 March 2022, India and UK concluded the second round of talks for the FTA, wherein draft treaty text was shared and discussed. The third round of negotiations is due to be hosted by India in April 2022.
Further, the Government of India is negotiating FTAs with, Israel, Russia and Southern African Customs Union (SACU) comprising Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland. More Details
The Union Minister of Commerce and Industry announced that India is considering entering into a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with Oman, while delivering the Keynote Address at the 10th Meeting of India-Oman Joint Business Council (JBC) in New Delhi on 12 May 2022. He also added that India was already looking at a comprehensive trade agreement with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations, of which Oman is an important member.
In addition, the Department of Commerce has bilateral institutional mechanism with several countries including its neighboring countries, except with Pakistan, under which discussions on trade, investment and economic issues are held at mutual convenience.
For the full list of current Engagements / Negotiations and Trade Agreements already concluded, please refer to Trade Agreements
Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (BIPA): India has signed Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (BIPA) with 83 countries, of which 72 are currently in force. The salient features of these Agreements include assurance of fair and equitable treatment, most favoured nation status, national treatment status and mechanism for dispute resolution. For list of countries with whom Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (BIPA) has been signed, please click here
Other Useful links:
India has been a WTO member since January 1, 1995, and a member of GATT since July 8, 1948. More on the ties at India and World Trade Organization (WTO)
The Seventh Trade Policy Review of India by the WTO was undertaken on 6 and 8 January 2021, based on a report by the WTO Secretariat and a report by the Government of India. For details please refer here