The pact is expected to lead to Foreign Direct Investment worth USD 100 billion in the next 15 years
In an important milestone, India signed a Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA) with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in New Delhi on Sunday (March 10, 2024). 

The EFTA includes Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland and is an inter-governmental organization set up in 1960 for the promotion of free trade and economic integration for the benefit of its four Member States.

The India-EFTA Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement will lead to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) worth USD 100 billion in the next 15 years and generate 1 million (10 lakh) direct jobs for India's workforce. At the same time, tarrif concessions related to agri and processed food products will boost India's exports.

According to Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, the "landmark " agreement will lead to mutual prosperity by boosting exports, promoting investment, creating employment and fostering collaboration across key sectors.

"The investment promise from EFTA nations is a big opportunity for pharma, medical devices, food sectors," he said. "It (India, EFTA) is a modern trade agreement -- it is fair, equitable and balanced. And a win-win for all the nations involved," he added.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar described the signing of the agreement as a "bold achievement".

"A great day for India’s partnership with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Congratulate my colleague CIM @PiyushGoyal on this achievement. The India-EFTA Trade & Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA) signed today is a bold achievement. It reflects a new way of furthering international economic collaboration," EAM Jaishankar posted on X.

According to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the agreement comprises 14 chapters with main focus on market access related to goods, rules of origin, trade facilitation, trade remedies, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, investment promotion, market access on services, intellectual property rights, trade and sustainable development and other legal and horizontal provisions.

EFTA is an important regional group, with several growing opportunities for enhancing international trade in goods and services. EFTA is one important economic block out of the three in Europe, the other two being EU and UK. Among EFTA countries, Switzerland is the largest trading partner of India followed by Norway.