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India and EFTA make progress in talks on new trade agreement

Live Mint - 15 May 2023

India and EFTA make progress in talks on new trade agreement
By Saurav Anand

The Indian government and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) states are making progress toward a new Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA), according to a joint statement released by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry said on Monday.

The two sides held a ministerial meeting in Brussels, where they discussed the modalities of engagement for working towards a comprehensive TEPA. Union Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, and representatives from EFTA states, including Swiss Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, emphasized the importance of building their discussions on principles of trust and respect for each other’s sensitivities to achieve a fair, equitable and balanced agreement.

If successful, a TEPA between EFTA and India could lead to integrated and resilient supply chains, new opportunities for businesses and individuals on both sides, increased trade and investment flows, job creation, and economic growth.

“The delegations agreed to ramp up their efforts and continue their discussions at a steady pace, with several more meetings planned over the coming months, to arrive at a common understanding on critical issues pertaining to TEPA," the joint statement read.

India is the ninth-largest trading partner of EFTA, accounting for about 2.5% of India’s total merchandise trade in 2020-21.

The main items of India’s exports to EFTA are textiles, chemicals, gems, and jewellery, machinery, and pharmaceuticals. The main items of India’s imports from EFTA are machinery, chemicals, precious metals, and medical instruments.

 source: Live Mint