mandag 7. juni 2021

There is currently no way for India to take China’s place in the European Union’s economic relations.

As India and the European Commission formally resumed their Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations this year, we witnessed a mushrooming of commentaries on the significance of the development. The torturous and inconclusive talks to reach such a deal had been abandoned years ago. They’ve been resurrected now, but what changed?

One line of argument is that the EU is seeking to balance China. While some of the European countries are increasingly critical of China at the political level, and growing more concerned about Chinese entities at the security level, the EU and its economic powerhouses remain intertwined with the Chinese economy. Thus, it is claimed by a part of the commentariat, enhancing economic relations with India would allow the EU to find a counterweight, to be overall less dependent on China for trade and investment. For instance, in vain pursuit of causation, some were quick to point out that in May, the announcement of the return to FTA negotiations with India was soon followed by a declaration that the EU was freezing the ratification of the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment with China.