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Comprehensive Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA)

Published: 18th May, 2023


A free trade agreement between India and four-nation bloc EFTA is likely to help enhance two-way commerce, investment flows, job creation and economic growth.


  • India’s Commerce and Industry Minister discussed modalities of engagement for working towards a comprehensive Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA) with representatives of European Free Trade Association (EFTA) states - Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.
  • The delegations agreed to ramp up their efforts and continue 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.

What is TEPA?

  • A free trade agreement between the two regions is officially dubbed as TEPA.
  • Under such pacts, two trading partners
    • significantly reduce or eliminate customs duties on the maximum number of goods traded between them
    • eases norms to promote trade in services and investments

About European Free Trade Association (EFTA)

  • The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is an intergovernmental organisation set up for the promotion of free trade and economic integration to the benefit of its four Member States – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland– and the benefit of their trading partners around the globe.
  • EFTA countries are not part of the European Union (EU).
  • It was founded as an alternative for states that did not wish to join the European Community.

India’s trade with EFTA

  • India's exports to EFTA countries during April-February 2022-23 stood at $1.67 billion as against $1.74 billion in 2021-22.
  • Imports aggregated at $15 billion during the 11-month period as compared to $25.5 billion in 2021-22.
  • The trade gap is in favour of the EFTA group.

Significant benefits

  • A TEPA between EFTA and India could bring significant economic benefits, such as
    • integrated and resilient supply chains
    • new opportunities for businesses and individuals on both sides
    • increased trade and investment flows, job creation, and economic growth

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