24th Feb, 2017.
There is a very interesting blog-post by Rob Howse (@howserob) on International Economic Law and Policy Blog on how India should hold firm against the European efforts to undermine its new model Bilateral Investment Treaty (http://worldtradelaw.typepad.com/ielpblog/2017/02/india-should-hold-firm-against-the-european-efforts-to-undermine-its-new-model-bilateral-investment-.html).
The column is all praise for India’s model BIT and very contemporary especially when there is pressure on India as the deadline of 31st March 2017 for unilaterally dissolving existing BIT comes closer. One such trade partner whose pressure is building is EU.
Here my thoughts on both the column and EU’s pressure on India for a (?)..
To not give EU the 6 months extension makes sense because it appears to me from this update (http://www.livemint.com/Politics/UKLWUwDn33uBuwRrmBRE5M/India-on-collision-course-with-EU-over-trade-treaty.html) that the EU is confused on what it wants from India when it comes to a treaty? Does it want a BIT or a BTIA? If it wants to negotiate a BIT, does it want to negotiate a new BIT on terms that it does not agree with on India’s proposed model BIT? Does it want 6 months for the mechanisms to be in place proposed by India’s model BIT which in turn means that it agrees with all the terms proposed by India’s model BIT? Besides, why should India give the EU an extension of 6 months? The decision to unilateral terminate BITS was taken 2 years back and it has been a year since the new model BIT was proposed. It was much in advance that India had proposed its intention for the EU to enact.
Now coming to whether India should succumb to EU pressure. While I not an expert on BITs yet, I wonder on the repercussions Indian investors would face internationally which can also have domestic ramifications especially when it comes to FDI inflows to India/considering India as a manufacturing hub/etc, if India remains stubborn to not negotiate on any terms in the proposed BIT at all? This all should read be in the light of the fact that India has at least now started to feature in the list of promising FDI destinations even though India is yet to observe FDI inflows to justify such FDI promises.
I do not have answers to the questions I pose but I hope to have them..