India and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) member countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland) have made significant progress towards a Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA).
In a Ministerial meeting held in Brussels today, Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs & Food & Public Distribution and Textiles of India; 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 gathering followed a series of expert meetings that took place online the previous week.
The ministerial meeting marked a significant milestone in taking forward the negotiations on a TEPA between India and EFTA. 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.”