India and EFTA sign $100 billion free trade deal

Flags of EFTA states
Flags of EFTA states Copyright Canva
Copyright Canva
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India and EFTA now need to ratify the agreement before it can come online, with Switzerland planning to do so by next year.


India has signed a trade agreement with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland that includes a commitment of $100 billion (€91 billion) in investments and creating one million direct jobs in India in the next 15 years.

India committed to reducing import tariffs on industrial products from the four European countries, which together make up the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

"The landmark agreement between India and EFTA is set to bring significant economic benefits, such as better integrated and more resilient supply chains, new opportunities for businesses and individuals on both sides leading to increased trade and investment flows, job creation, and economic growth,” an EFTA said in a press release on Sunday.

India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said India for the first time had signed an agreement with an important economic bloc in Europe. 

EFTA is perhaps the second-most significant economic organisation on the continent after its historical competitor, the European Union. The two are now very closely associated.

India is also working on trade pacts with the UK and the EU.

The agreement includes trade in goods and services, investment promotion and cooperation, intellectual property, government procurement, trade and sustainable development, and dispute settlement. It will provide a window for Indian exporters to access European and global markets, Goyal said in a statement.

The agreement was signed in New Delhi by Goyal, his Swiss counterpart Guy Parmelin, Iceland's Foreign Minister Bjarni Benediktsson, Liechtenstein's Foreign Minister Dominique Hasler, and Norway’s Trade and Industry Minister Jan Christian Vestre.

Parmelin, speaking on behalf of the EFTA member states, said “EFTA countries gain market access to a major growth market. Our companies strive to diversify their supply chains while rendering them more resilient. India, in return, will attract more foreign investment from EFTA, which will ultimately translate into an increase in good jobs.”

India and EFTA now need to ratify the agreement before it can come online, with Switzerland planning to do so by next year.

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