Swiss cheese, chocolate, watches will soon become cheaper. Know how - Hindustan Times

Swiss cheese, chocolate, watches will soon become cheaper. Know how

May 26, 2024 03:56 PM IST

India-EFTA trade deal expected to boost manufacturing and services infrastructure, create jobs, and enhance market access for both sides

The Indian government has offered reductions in customs duties on 82.7 per cent of its tariff lines, covering 95.3 per cent of European Free Trade Association (EFTA) exports. This will make Swiss cheese, chocolate, wine, watches, and other products more affordable for Indian consumers.

A Swiss chocolate box is displayed to be sold during 'Festichoc' chocolate festival in Versoix near Geneva.(AFP)
A Swiss chocolate box is displayed to be sold during 'Festichoc' chocolate festival in Versoix near Geneva.(AFP)

Additionally, India has provided concessions in 105 sub-sectors, such as IT, healthcare, and accounting, to boost its services exports to EFTA countries.

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India-EFTA trade deal explained in points

• EFTA countries will expand their operations in India as a unique feature of the India-EFTA trade deal is EFTA's commitment to invest USD 100 billion in India over the next 15 years.

• These investments will target manufacturing sectors such as chemicals, pharmaceuticals, machinery, and food processing, as well as service exports like IT and accounting, and infrastructure.

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• The trade deal is expected to enhance India's manufacturing and services infrastructure, spur innovation, create jobs, and upskill the workforce. It aims to boost domestic manufacturing in sectors like infrastructure, connectivity, machinery, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, transport, logistics, banking, financial services, and insurance.

• The agreement provides Indian companies a gateway to the EU market through Switzerland, which exports over 40 per cent of its global services to the EU.

• The trade deal will strengthen India's trade relations with Europe by improving market access for both India and EFTA members.

• With the FTA, EFTA gains access to India's growing market, estimated to become the world's fifth-largest consumer market by 2025.

• The deal offers India access to Europe, particularly for manufacturers and exporters in food processing, pharmaceuticals, and organic chemicals, with EFTA offering 92.2 per cent of its tariff lines to Indian exporters.

• The agreement prioritises tariff reductions and simplification of trade procedures, targeting high-value items like fish, advanced chemicals, pharmaceuticals, machinery, and Swiss chocolate.

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• EFTA countries can now export processed foods, electrical machinery, and engineering items to India at low tariffs, benefiting a market of 1.4 billion people.

India signed a free trade agreement with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) on March 10, concluding 21 rounds of negotiations over 15 years. As part of the deal, India has opened 105 sub-sectors to EFTA and secured commitments in 128 from Switzerland, 114 from Norway, 107 from Liechtenstein, and 110 from Iceland.

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Established in 1960, EFTA is an intergovernmental organization that includes Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, focused on promoting economic cooperation and free trade across Europe.

With a combined population of 13 million, the EFTA countries are the world's tenth-largest traders of merchandise and eighth-largest providers of commercial services.

(Inputs from ANI)

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