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Thursday, April 18, 2024

India, EFTA bloc discuss steps for trade agreement


Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, who is in Brussels, discussed the modalities of engagement for a free trade agreement with representatives of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) States – that comprise Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.

During a Ministerial meeting held in Brussels on Sunday, Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal; Guy Parmelin, Swiss Federal Councillor and Head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research; Einar Gunnarsson, Ambassador, Permanent Representative at the Permanent Mission of Iceland in Geneva; Kurt Jäger, Ambassador, Permanent Representative at the Permanent Mission of Liechtenstein to EFTA, WTO and the UN in Geneva, and Erik Andreas Underland, Specialist Director at the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Fisheries, discussed the modalities of engagement for working towards a comprehensive TEPA.

This second Ministerial meeting followed a series of expert meetings that took place online the previous week.

Piyush Goyal in a tweet said:

“Met European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Ministerial Delegation led by @ParmelinG, Swiss Federal Councillor in Brussels today.

“With both sides looking for closer cooperation, exchanged views on enhancing our trade across critical sectors, leading to mutual growth & prosperity.”

Swiss Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin in a tweet said: “One more step towards a free trade agreement with India. Together with my Indian colleague @PiyushGoyalOffc & EFTA representatives we discussed today new details of an agreement. All the parties reaffirmed their desire to see the discussions come to a rapid conclusion.”

The Ministerial meeting marked a significant milestone in taking forward the negotiations on a TEPA between India and EFTA, a statement said.

Both sides emphasised 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.

Indeed, a TEPA between EFTA and India could bring significant economic benefits, such as integrated and resilient supply chains and new opportunities for businesses and individuals on both sides leading to 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 statement added.

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