NEW DELHI: In a landmark move, India have inked a historic Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA) worth $100 billion with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).  

EFTA comprises Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.

The agreement, finalised after 16 years of negotiations, is expected to significantly boost trade and economic cooperation between India and these prosperous European nations.

Lowering Barriers, Expanding Markets

The TEPA paves the way for increased market access for both Indian and EFTA businesses. India will progressively eliminate import tariffs on a wide range of industrial products from EFTA countries. Conversely, EFTA members will open their markets to Indian goods, making Indian exports more competitive. This reduction in trade barriers is expected to streamline customs procedures and encourage trade flows.

Investment and Growth

The agreement extends beyond just tariff reductions. It also includes provisions to attract investments from EFTA countries into key Indian sectors like pharmaceuticals, machinery, and manufacturing. This influx of foreign capital is expected to fuel economic growth and create new job opportunities in India.

A Strategic Partnership

Analysts believe the TEPA is a strategic win for both sides. India gains access to high-income European markets, while EFTA nations can diversify their supply chains and tap into India’s growing consumer base. The deal is also seen as a step towards strengthening political and economic ties between India and Europe.

Challenges and Opportunities

Despite the optimism, some concerns remain. Indian manufacturers might face competition from cheaper EFTA imports in certain sectors. However, the government is confident that increased competition will ultimately lead to greater innovation and efficiency in Indian industries.

Looking Ahead

The India-EFTA TEPA is a significant development with the potential to reshape trade dynamics between the regions. With both sides committed to its implementation, the coming years will be crucial in evaluating the deal’s impact on economic growth, job creation, and overall bilateral relations.