Dutch Envoy Urges India, EU To Hold FTA Talks

The Netherlands’ Ambassador to India Alphonsus Stoelinga has requested New Delhi and the European Union (EU) to resume talks on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) as soon as possible.
Speaking at a press conference in the Indian capital earlier this week, Stoelinga said that the FTA would help both India and the European bloc to boost their trade ties, as it became important for the two parties to increase their export volume. At the same time, he mentioned that both India and the EU would have to safeguard investments from both sides.
Commenting on New Delhi’s decision to terminate the India-Dutch bilateral investment protection treaty on November 30, the envoy said that the current Dutch investments in the South Asian country and vice versa would be protected under the old treaty for a 15-year period. He made clear that Amsterdam was not at all happy with the Narendra Modi government’s decision, saying: “The Netherlands is the fourth largest investor in India and India is the fifth largest investor in the Netherlands. The Indian government has decided unilaterally to terminate bilateral investment protection treaties with all European nations. The Indo-Dutch bilateral investment treaty ended on November 30 and Holland became the first country whose treaty was terminated.”
Stoelinga expressed serious concern over India’s move, stressing that the existing Dutch investments required protection in India. “We had urged the Indian government to give a window of six months after November 30, but that was not agreed to. We hope that the political leadership in New Delhi and in the EU now expedite the Indo-EU FTA that will offer protection to European investments in India and vice-versa,” he said.
The ambassador criticised India for sending a wrong signal to the global community, saying that he failed to understand why India, currently pitching for the ‘Make in India’ initiative and ease of doing business, made such a decision. “While some progress has been made during the past two years in the ease of doing business in India and states are offering more incentives to foreign investors, we are hoping for additional reforms now that India is the brightest spot in the economy globally,” stressed the senior diplomat.
The volume of total Dutch investment in the South Asian country was USD 1,615 million between April and September.


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