An official statement stated on Monday that a free trade deal between India and the four-nation EFTA bloc will assist boost two-way commerce, investment flows, job creation, and economic growth.
Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal met with representatives of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) states Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland in Brussels to discuss engagement modalities for working towards a comprehensive Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA).
Both parties discussed strategies to restart discussions for the accord on April 26 here.
“India and the EFTA states discussed the modalities of involvement for working towards a comprehensive TEPA,” according to a press release released following the completion of the discussions.
The delegations decided to step up their efforts and keep the negotiations moving forward, with many more sessions planned in the coming months to reach a consensus on crucial TEPA concerns.
Both parties highlighted the significance of basing their negotiations on values of trust and respect for each other’s sensitivities in order to reach a fair, equitable, and balanced agreement, according to the statement.
Indeed, a TEPA between EFTA and India might result in major economic advantages, such as integrated and robust supply chains and new possibilities for firms and individuals on both sides, resulting in higher trade and investment flows, job creation, and economic growth, according to the report.
Guy Parmelin, Swiss Federal Councillor and Head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education, and Research; Einar Gunnarsson, Ambassador, Permanent Representative at Iceland’s Permanent Mission in Geneva; Erik Andreas Underland, Specialist Director at Norway’s Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Fisheries met with Goyal, Kurt Jäger, Ambassador, Permanent Representative at Liechtenstein’s Permanent Mission to EFTA.
Under such agreements, two trading partners drastically decrease or remove customs tariffs on the maximum number of items exchanged between them, in addition to relaxing rules to encourage trade in services and investments.
The European Union (EU) does not include EFTA nations.
EFTA is an intergovernmental association that promotes and strengthens free trade. It was established as an option for countries that did not want to join the European Union.
From April-February 2022-23, India’s exports to EFTA nations totaled USD 1.67 billion, compared to USD 1.74 billion in 2021-22. Imports totaled USD 15 billion for the 11-month period, down from USD 25.5 billion in 2021-22. The trade imbalance favors the EFTA group.