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India and EFTA hold high-level delegation meeting to boost bilateral trade and economic partnership

Introduction

On 26th April 2023, the Ministry of Commerce & Industry of India hosted a high-level delegation meeting with representatives from the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) States. The aim of the meeting was to discuss the prospects of resuming negotiations towards a Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA) and strengthen the bilateral trade and economic partnership between India and EFTA. This article provides an overview of the meeting, its outcomes, and its significance.

Key Highlights

The high-level delegations from India and EFTA discussed the current state of their negotiations towards a TEPA and explored ways to advance the talks. The meeting acknowledged the challenges posed by the current global economic and trade environment and emphasized the need to address the bilateral trade and economic partnership issues in a constructive and pragmatic manner.

The meeting provided an opportunity for both sides to exchange views on deepening and strengthening the economic partnership, while contributing to a more inclusive global trading system. The participants agreed to continue their efforts to resolve all outstanding issues and work towards a fruitful economic partnership.

Participants

The high-level delegations were composed of Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs & Food & Public Distribution and Textiles of India; Jan Christian Vestre, Minister of Trade and Industry of Norway; Helene Budliger Artieda, Swiss State Secretary at the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO; Martin Eyjólfsson, Permanent Secretary of State of Iceland at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs; Kurt Jäger, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Liechtenstein to EFTA, WTO and the UN in Geneva; and Henri Gétaz, Secretary-General of the European Free Trade Association.

Significance

The meeting between India and EFTA is significant in the context of the ongoing Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations in India, which commemorate 75 years of India’s independence. The meeting is an indication of India’s commitment to strengthening its economic ties with other countries and contributing to a more inclusive global trading system.

Conclusion

The high-level delegation meeting between India and EFTA marks an important step towards strengthening their bilateral trade and economic partnership. The meeting provided an opportunity for both sides to exchange views on the state of play of their negotiations towards a TEPA and explore ways to advance the talks. The commitment shown by both sides to resolve all outstanding issues and work towards a more inclusive global trading system is a positive sign for the future of India-EFTA relations.

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