India to EU: Address concerns on data security

Written by Press Trust of India | New Delhi | Updated: May 31 2013, 08:40am hrs
India today asked the European Union to address its concerns on providing data-secure status for the IT industry under the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA), to which the 27-member bloc has expressed willingness to set up a Joint Working Group (JWG).

Indias concerns were conveyed by commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma to EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht when the two met on the sidelines of an OECD meeting in Paris today, during which they also reviewed the current status of the India-European Union Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) negotiations.

The two sides have failed to bridge the gap on various crucial issues, including increase in FDI in the insurance sector by India and granting of status of data-secure nation by the European Union

during the talks between their chief negotiators here earlier this month.

During the meeting, Sharma emphatically underscored the need for addressing Indias concerns on providing data-secure status. EU is willing to set up a Joint Working Group which will look at all the technical aspects to ensure that India will be able to achieve necessary compliance for data security purposes, an official statement said here.

Data-secure status is a major demand of India as its current lack of status has prevented the flow of sensitive information to India, a big deal for its IT industry. This has also impacted the movement of people through restrictions on business development as it restricts transfer of personal data to locations outside EU, unless the importing country ensures adequate data protection.

India has been arguing that since US has a safe harbour pact with the EU, and that the US and India have a data adequacy agreement, therefore the EU should give data adequacy status to India.

Chief negotiators for the trade pact had met earlier this month but had failed to bridge substantial gaps on crucial issues, including insurance and data security status for the IT sector. Launched in June 2007, the negotiations for the proposed BTIA had witnessed many hurdles with both sides having major differences on crucial issues.