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Sunday, April 21, 2024

India and the four-member European trade bloc EFTA sign US dollar 100 billion deal

India and the four-member European trade bloc EFTA, including Norway and Switzerland, signed a $100 billion free trade agreement on Sunday to promote investment and exports, officials said.

The deal will see the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) — made up of non-European Union nations, including Iceland and Liechtenstein — invest $100 billion over 15 years in India, the world’s fifth largest economy, India’s Trade Minister Piyush Goyal said.

“The India-EFTA Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA) marks a historic milestone in our growing partnership,” Goyal said after the signing in New Delhi. The agreement “will pave the path for mutual growth and prosperity” by boosting exports, promoting investment and creating employment, he added.

The deal was signed after several rounds of negotiations spanning 16 years. It will provide better access to Indian textile products in EFTA countries.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the trade agreement “symbolises our shared commitment to open, fair and equitable trade”, according to a statement read out at the signing ceremony. Swiss Economy Minister Guy Parmelin said the deal “will allow us to make better use of our economic potential and create additional opportunities for both India and the EFTA states”.

“EFTA countries gain market access to a major growth market… India, in return, will attract more foreign investment from EFTA, which will ultimately translate into an increase in good jobs”, he added, speaking in New Delhi.

EFTA was established in 1960 to promote free trade and economic integration between its members. In 2021, it was the 10th largest trader in the world in terms of merchandise, and the eighth largest in services.

Overall, the India-EFTA trade pact is expected to significantly benefit Indian consumers by making high-quality Swiss products more affordable and accessible. It will also enhance bilateral trade and investments, fostering closer economic ties between India and the EFTA countries.

India has recently signed a significant trade and economic pact worth $100 billion with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), comprising Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. The primary goal of this agreement is to bolster trade and investments between India and the EFTA nations. By eliminating custom duties on imported goods, the pact is expected to provide numerous benefits to Indian consumers and the economy. Notably, it will allow Indians to access high-quality Swiss products at more affordable prices, thus promoting greater economic growth and cooperation between the two regions.

The agreement enhances market access and simplifies customs procedures making it easier for Indian and EFTA businesses to expand their operations in the respective markets. The agreement further aims to facilitate and promote investment opportunities between the Parties.

The EFTA-India TEPA was signed by Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs & Food & Public Distribution and Textiles of India; Guy Parmelin, Swiss Federal Councillor and Head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research; Bjarni Benediktsson, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Iceland; Dominique Hasler, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Liechtenstein and Jan Christian Vestre, Minister of Trade and Industry, Norway.

In recent years, India has signed trade agreements with Australia and the United Arab Emirates. A long-talked-about trade deal with Britain is also said to be in the final stages.

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