India-EFTA Pact Marks Historic $100 Billion Free Trade Agreement, Boosting Mutual Growth

Last Updated on March 10, 2024 12:25 pm

In a landmark development, India and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), comprising non-European Union nations such as Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, and Liechtenstein, have officially inked a historic $100-billion free trade agreement. The deal, named the India-EFTA Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA), is set to usher in a new era of economic collaboration, with the EFTA committing to invest $100 billion over the next 15 years in India, the world’s fifth-largest economy.

India’s Trade Minister Piyush Goyal hailed the agreement as a “historic milestone in our growing partnership,” emphasizing its potential to foster mutual growth and prosperity. Goyal highlighted the significance of the pact in boosting exports, promoting investment, and creating employment opportunities.

The signing ceremony, held in New Delhi after 16 years of negotiations, saw Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing his sentiments on the accord. Modi underscored that the trade agreement “symbolizes our shared commitment to open, fair, and equitable trade.”

Swiss Economy Minister Guy Parmelin echoed the sentiment, stating that the deal “will allow us to make better use of our economic potential and create additional opportunities for both India and the EFTA states.” Parmelin emphasized the positive impact on market access, noting that EFTA countries stand to gain entry into a major growth market, while India is poised to attract increased foreign investment, translating into a surge in job opportunities.

Established in 1960, EFTA’s primary objective is to promote free trade and economic integration among its member nations. In 2021, it ranked as the 10th largest global trader in merchandise and the eighth largest in services.

The agreement comes after several rounds of negotiations, signaling a commitment to open, transparent, and mutually beneficial trade practices. India’s recent trade agreements with Australia and the United Arab Emirates, coupled with ongoing talks of a trade deal with Britain in its final stages, underscore the nation’s proactive approach in strengthening global economic ties. The India-EFTA pact is poised to deepen collaboration between the two regions, fostering economic growth and amplifying trade opportunities for both parties.

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