EFTA and India strengthen efforts towards comprehensive Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement

Published 27-06-2023
EFTA-India high-level delegations
Communiqué EFTA-India – Schaan, 27 June 2023

On 27 June 2023, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) held its annual Ministerial meeting in Schaan, Liechtenstein. The meeting was hosted by Dominique Hasler, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Culture and Education of Liechtenstein. During an online exchange with Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of Textiles, Commerce and Industry of India that was chaired by Guy Parmelin, Federal Councillor of Switzerland and also attended by Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iceland and Halvard Ingebrigtsen, State Secretary of Trade and Industry of Norway, ongoing negotiating efforts towards a trade agreement between EFTA and India were discussed.

The EFTA countries and India discussed their shared ambitions for a comprehensive trade and economic partnership agreement and intensifying efforts towards it. The meeting provided an opportunity for taking stock of the ongoing engagement between experts and to provide guidance to the discussions. The ministers took note of the upcoming round of negotiations taking place in the week of 3 July in New Delhi and renewed their commitments to prioritise the process to the mutual benefit of all countries.

"EFTA States and India should capitalise on the benefits that a strategic partnership between our countries can provide. We have recognised this at a political level and this should empower our negotiation efforts [...]. Today is an occasion to reemphasise our commitments to maintain an intense and constructive engagement and conclude a trade agreement this year,"  said Swiss Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin.

"I am sure we will find common ground for the conclusion of these negotiations, and our teams are going to come up with some innovative solutions for the benefit of our five countries,"  stated Indian Minister of Commerce & Industry Shri Piyush Goyal.

Economic relations between the EFTA States and India

Total trade between the parties has been growing steadily over the last twenty years. In 2022, total merchandise trade between the EFTA States and India reached more than USD 6.1 billion. The main imports to the EFTA States were Organic Chemicals (27.5 %), while, excluding gold, most exports to India were machinery (17.5 %) and pharmaceutical products (11.4 %). Services trade and foreign direct investment are likewise at a high level. 

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