India and EFTA ink landmark trade agreement

The deal covers services like IT, audio-visual, and the movement of skilled professionals, aiming to create a win-win situation for all nations involved

March 11, 2024

Union Minister Piyush Goyal highlighted the agreement's significance, emphasising shared values of open, fair, and equitable trade for mutual growth and employment opportunities

Prime Minister Narendra Modi commended EFTA's global leadership in innovation and R&D, foreseeing collaborative opportunities across various industries

India seeks US$ 100 billion in investments over 15 years from EFTA countries, tied to duty reduction, with expectations of benefiting sectors exporting goods to the EFTA bloc

The Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA) includes 14 chapters covering trade in goods, intellectual property rights, investment promotion, and other aspects

On Sunday, India and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), consisting of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, inked a free trade agreement aimed at fostering investments and exports in crucial domestic service sectors such as IT, audio-visual, and the mobility of skilled professionals. Union Minister Piyush Goyal, citing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, highlighted the complementary nature of the economies, terming the agreement a win-win situation. He emphasised the newfound trust and ambition, characterising the trade pact as a commitment to open, fair, and equitable trade, fostering growth and employment opportunities for the youth.

Prime Minister Modi remarked that the India-EFTA trade agreement signifies a shared commitment to open, fair, and equitable trade. He praised EFTA’s global leadership in innovation and R&D across digital trade, banking and financial services, and pharmaceuticals, anticipating new avenues for collaboration. In a written message read by Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, Modi extended his congratulations and best wishes to the negotiators and signatories, envisioning the agreement as the start of a prosperous future for all nations involved.

Modi further stated that over the past decade, India’s economy has witnessed significant growth, moving from the eleventh to the fifth-largest globally, with the goal of becoming a leading global economy. India sought a commitment of US$ 50 billion in investments during the initial ten years post-agreement implementation and an additional US$ 50 billion in the subsequent five years from EFTA member countries. This commitment is tied to duty reduction provisions in the agreement, with various sectors expected to benefit.

The official signing of the Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA) took place after Union Cabinet approval on March 7. The comprehensive agreement comprises 14 chapters covering aspects such as trade in goods, rules of origin, intellectual property rights (IPRs), trade in services, investment promotion and cooperation, government procurement, technical barriers to trade, and trade facilitation. Negotiations between India and EFTA have been ongoing since January 2008, with the aim of strengthening economic ties between the parties. 

Source: Economic Times

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