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Friday, April 19, 2024  
09 Shawwal 1445  

India, European EFTA bloc sign $100b free trade deal

Deal was signed after several rounds of negotiations spanning 16 years
This handout photograph taken and released by the Indian Press Information Bureau (PIB) on March 10, 2024 shows Piyush Goyal (2R), India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Textiles, Food and Public Distribution addressing diplomats at the signing ceremony of Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA) between India and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in New Delhi. AFP
This handout photograph taken and released by the Indian Press Information Bureau (PIB) on March 10, 2024 shows Piyush Goyal (2R), India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Textiles, Food and Public Distribution addressing diplomats at the signing ceremony of Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA) between India and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in New Delhi. AFP
India’s Minister of Commerce Piyush Goyal prepares to brief journalists at a WTO meeting in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, February 29, 2024. Reuters
India’s Minister of Commerce Piyush Goyal prepares to brief journalists at a WTO meeting in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, February 29, 2024. Reuters

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.

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.

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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European Union

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European Free Trade Association

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