Read the article on the website of the Indian daily The Hindu or below. Terming the ongoing India-European Union Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations “non-transparent” and a threat to the livelihoods of millions of people, Indian and European advocacy groups have warned that any hasty conclusion of the talks will only fuel poverty, inequality and environmental destruction. The terms of a new deal between the EU and India, negotiations of which have been “hijacked” by big business and vested interests on both sides, will jeopardise the livelihood of millions of small farmers and patients, a joint study by the Belgium-based Corporate Europe Observatory and India-based India FDI Watch has revealed. The report, ‘Trade invaders-how big business is driving the EU-India FTA negotiations,' released simultaneously in New Delhi and Brussels on Wednesday, gives an insight into how negotiators are working behind closed doors, hand-in-glove with industry to push a big business-first agenda. Internal European Commission documents on secret meetings with corporate lobbyists show how European supermarket giants are demanding access to the Indian retail market, threatening the livelihood of street vendors and small retailers. The study calls for a halt to the negotiations until all positions, draft proposals, stakeholder contributions and government commissioned studies are made public; comprehensive impact assessments and meaningful and broad consultations with the most affected groups in Europe and India are carried out; the negotiators put an end to making policies in consultation with big businesses; and development, livelihood and food sovereignty and environmental, social and gender justice form the core of the trade policy agenda. Report co-author Pia Eberhardt of the Corporate Europe Observatory said: “The EC and the Indian government have handed the negotiation agenda over to corporate lobby groups, ignoring the needs of their citizens. It is an outrage that two of the world's biggest so-called democracies should behave in this way.” ‘Livelihood at stake' India FDI Watch director Dharmendra Kumar, who has co-authored the report, said: “The negotiations could damage the lives and livelihood of millions of India's poorest. Giant retailers such as Carrefour, Metro, Tesco and Bharti Retail are pushing for opening up India for foreign investment in multi-brand retail, which is now banned. The result will push street traders and small farmers into poverty and hunger.” The talks have already triggered mass protests in India, with thousands of small retailers and street-vendors staging protests in cities across the country.
India-EU FTA talks non-transparent
A new joint report from Corporate Europe Observatory and India FDI Watch reveals how, in the negotiations for a trade deal between the EU and India, the EU Commission and the Indian government have handed the agenda over to corporate lobby groups. This big-business-first agenda will put at risk the livelihoods of millions of small farmers, street traders and patients. The report shows how negotiators on both sides have entered into a symbiotic working relationship with big corporations and their lobby groups. It shines a light on the dense web of corporate advisory bodies, working groups and secret consultation channels through which business can exercise undue influence over trade-policy making in the EU and India. And it explains the human consequences of the corporate trade agenda in fields such as intellectual property rights, retail, agriculture and manufacturing.
Business Agenda Threatens Livelihoods of Millions Brussels / Delhi: The livelihoods of millions of small farmers, street traders and patients are at risk under the terms of a new trade deal being negotiated by the EU and India which has been hijacked by big business, a new joint report from Corporate Europe Observatory and India FDI Watch reveals .
The EU's General Court has announced a date for the hearing for Corporate Europe Observatory's legal action, suing the EU Commission for withholding information related to the EU’s free trade talks with India. The Commission is accused of discriminating in favour of corporate lobby groups and of violating the EU’s transparency rules. The case will be heard in Luxembourg on 11 January 2012.
The EU's General Court has announced a date for the judgement in Corporate Europe Observatory's legal action, suing the European Commission for withholding information related to the EU’s free trade talks with India. The Commission is accused of discriminating in favour of corporate lobby groups and of violating the EU’s transparency rules. The judgement will be delivered on 7 June 2013.
Civil society groups today urged the European Commission and Indian Government to halt free trade negotiations, scheduled to continue in Delhi tomorrow. In an open letter, signed by more than 100 groups, they warned that the talks would damage the livelihoods of millions of people in both India and Europe, exacerbating poverty and undermining economic and social development.
Corporate Europe Observatory
Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) is a research and campaign group working to expose and challenge the privileged access and influence enjoyed by corporations and their lobby groups in EU policy making.