India, European Free Trade Association agree to conclude talks early
A delegation led by Swiss economic affairs secretary Helene Budliger Artieda met Indian minister Piyush Goyal in London
India’s Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal (Photo by SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP via Getty Images)
INDIA and a four-nation bloc of Europe have agreed on an early conclusion of negotiations for a free trade agreement, New Delhi said on Wednesday.
India and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) states – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland – are negotiating the Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA).
Indian commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal held discussions on the progress of the agreement with an EFTA delegation led by the Swiss state secretary for economic affairs, Helene Budliger Artieda, in London on July 11 and 12.
Artieda was accompanied by stakeholders from pharmaceutical, machinery and electronics industries of the EFTA states, the Indian commerce ministry said.
“The deliberations between the minister Piyush Goyal and state secretary Helene Budliger Artieda were fruitful and detailed discussions on crucial issues, with the shared goal of swiftly concluding the TEPA negotiations,” it said.
Over the past few months, India and EFTA have intensified their engagement, highlighting the commitment of both parties to achieving an early conclusion to the TEPA negotiations, it added.
Under such pacts, trading partners significantly reduce or eliminate customs duties on several goods traded between them, besides easing norms to promote trade in services and investments.
The EFTA is an inter-governmental organisation for the promotion of free trade and its member states 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.