India, European Free Trade Association States Hold Talks On Comprehensive Trade And Economic Partnership Agreement

Swarajya Staff

May 15, 2023, 03:34 PM | Updated 03:34 PM IST

Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal With EFTA leaders in Brussels (Pic Via Twitter)
Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal With EFTA leaders in Brussels (Pic Via Twitter)

India and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) states, which include Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, have made notable progress in their pursuit of a Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA).

The EFTA is a regional trade organisation and free trade area consisting of four European states: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

The organisation operates in parallel with the European Union (EU), and all four member states participate in the European Single Market and are part of the Schengen Area.

They are, however, not party to the European Union Customs Union.

Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal on Sunday (14 May) met with leaders of EFTA in Brussels.

In the meeting, Goyal and the EFTA leaders 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 Commerce Ministry in a statement on Monday (15 May) said that 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," the ministry said.

According to the ministry, 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 ministry said.

Get Swarajya in your inbox.