Win-win situation: PM Modi on why India-EFTA deal is ‘one of the most pioneering free trade agreements’ between nations

  • PM Modi said that the trade agreement symbolizes the shared commitment to open, fair, equitable trade, as well as generating growth and employment for the youth.

Livemint, Written By Vaamanaa Sethi
First Published10 Mar 2024, 02:06 PM IST
PM Modi
PM Modi

India-EFTA trade deal: India and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), which comprises four European nations, inked a free trade agreement aimed at fostering investments and boosting exports in crucial domestic service sectors like IT, audio-visual, and the mobility of skilled professionals, on Sunday.

Congratulating the negotiators and signatories involved in the signing of India-EFTA Trade and Economic Participation Agreement (TEPA), India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “The culmination of efforts to finalise an innovative, well-balanced trade deal that reflects our respective developmental aspirations is commendable. One of the most pioneering free trade agreements ever concluded between our countries, TEPA emphasises our steadfast commitment to shared prosperity and our drive to cultivate a stronger, more inclusive partnership between India and EFTA, furthering the aspirations of our people.”

Also read: India, EFTA sign free trade deal

He further said that the trade agreement symbolizes the shared commitment to open, fair, equitable trade, as well as generating growth and employment for the youth.

“Despite structural diversities in many aspects, our economies possess complementarities that promise to be a win-win situation for all nations. With the opening up of enormous trading and investment opportunities, we have reached a new level of trust and ambition.”

Over the past decade, India's economy has undergone a significant transformation, ascending from the eleventh largest to the fifth largest globally. Our subsequent ambition is to propel India's economy to the position of the third largest in the world.

PM Modi further said, "Through wide-ranging reforms, we have enhanced the ease of doing business that has helped our nation touch new heights in business, manufacturing and exports.

The global leadership of EFTA countries in innovation and R&D across diverse spheres such as digital trade, banking and financial services, transport and logistics, industrial machinery, bio technology, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, food processing and clean energy, will open up new doors of collaboration."

Details on India-EFTA trade deal

The EFTA nations—comprising Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland—have extended duty-free access to India's animal products, fish, processed food, and vegetable oils. Additionally, these nations have proposed a substantial $100 billion investment in India over the course of 15 years by their companies, with an anticipated creation of approximately one million jobs. Negotiations for a trade treaty between the two sides commenced back in 2008.

Mint initially disclosed on Thursday that the Cabinet would consider approval for the FTA with the EFTA bloc, with the signing slated for Sunday. The agreement, outlined at Bharat Mandapam today, ensures immediate duty-free access, presenting the most favorable terms among other FTA partners. Furthermore, EFTA intends to establish offices in India to facilitate its companies' operations.

Despite these developments, trade experts remain cautious about the deal's potential benefits, especially considering that 98% of India's exports to Switzerland currently consist of industrial goods subject to zero tariffs.

“India's agricultural exports are minimal and unlikely to increase significantly due to strict quality standards and non-tariff barriers," said Ajay Srivastava, who heads trade think tank - Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI).

 

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First Published:10 Mar 2024, 02:06 PM IST
HomeNewsIndiaWin-win situation: PM Modi on why India-EFTA deal is ‘one of the most pioneering free trade agreements’ between nations

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