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9th March 2024 (8 Topics)

India-EFTA Free Trade Agreement: A Strategic Partnership


India and the four-nation European Free Trade Association (EFTA), which includes Switzerland, Norway and Liechtesnstein, is likely to sigh a long-negotiated free trade agreement, aimed at increasing trade and investment flows, job creation and economic growth.

1: Dimension: Economic Impact

  • Scope of the Agreement: India and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries, comprising Switzerland, Finland, Norway, and Liechtenstein, are poised to sign a significant bilateral free trade agreement on March 10. The pact, known as the India-EFTA Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA), aims to enhance trade and investment flows, spur job creation, and foster economic growth.
  • Projected Investments: The TEPA is anticipated to facilitate investments amounting to $100 billion from the EFTA bloc into India over the next 15 years. This infusion of capital is expected to generate approximately one million jobs, contributing significantly to India's economic landscape.

2: Dimension: Trade Dynamics and Deficit Mitigation

  • Addressing Trade Imbalances: The trade pact holds promise in addressing the substantial trade deficit that India currently experiences with the EFTA bloc. In 2023, India's exports to EFTA amounted to $1.87 billion, primarily comprising chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and apparel. In contrast, imports from EFTA totalled $20.45 billion, dominated by pearls, precious metals, and coins.
  • Boosting Export Opportunities: By fostering greater market access and facilitating trade in goods and services, the TEPA is expected to bolster India's export potential to EFTA countries, thereby narrowing the trade deficit over time.

3: Dimension: Strategic Implications

  • Signal for Future Engagements: The successful conclusion of negotiations and the imminent signing of the India-EFTA TEPA signal India's commitment to fostering mutually beneficial trade relationships. Furthermore, it serves as a positive precedent for ongoing FTA negotiations with other key partners, including the European Union and the United Kingdom.
  • Sectoral Focus and Investment Prospects: The TEPA lays the groundwork for collaborative ventures across various sectors, including pharmaceuticals, chemicals, food processing, and engineering products. Notably, this agreement marks India's first FTA wherein commitments on investment and employment have been secured from partner nations, promising significant opportunities for economic collaboration and growth.

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