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New impetus to EU-India free trade agreement: Swedish envoy

The Times of India - 24 November 2021

New impetus to EU-India free trade agreement: Swedish envoy
By Shiladitya Pandit

Sweden’s ambassador to India, Klas Molin, on Tuesday expressed hope that the free trade agreement between the European Union, which the Scandinavian nation is a part of, and India would be negotiated and resolved soon.

Swedish diplomats also stressed on innovation and cooperation between entities from their country and India.

“At the recent EU-India summit in Portugal, the two parties agreed to resume negotiations regarding the free trade agreement, with a number of issues to be resolved on both ends, such as tariffs or the free movement of labour. I feel that India has not felt the benefits of its previous free trade agreements with others, especially when it comes to balance of trade,” Molin said during a discussion with reporters.

“However, there is a new impetus in the direction, and Sweden will certainly benefit in case of a free trade agreement (FTA) between India and the EU, as Sweden is reliant on trade,” Molin said.

Molin, as well as Anna Lekvall, Swedish consul-general in Mumbai, and Sara Larsson, head of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in India, were in Pune as a part of a series of interactions with Swedish companies operating in the region. Pune and its surroundings are a hub of manufacturing operations for prominent Swedish companies across segments such as heavy engineering, industrial tools, packaging and telecommunications with many centred around the Pimpri-Chinchwad and Chakan belt. Among the firms are Atlas Copco, Alfa Laval, Tetra Pak and Ericsson.

Molin, Lekvall and Larsson also released a sustainability study and business climate survey, conducted among Swedish companies in the region. Larsson adding that those companies were expected to invest around US$ 1 billion into the Indian market over the next couple of years.

Lekvall said partnerships were also in the offing around gender equality in the workplace, as well as innovations in technology and manufacturing. “Over the past 12 years, oer 100 Swedish companies have entered the Indian market. Those are not just present in manufacturing, but an increasing number of them are tech and service-oriented businesses, such as Spotify or Truecaller ,” Lekvall said.

 source: The Times of India