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Report on Indo-EFTA trade pact by year-end

CMA Gul S , Last updated: 13 September 2007  

A Joint Study Group (JSG) of India and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), comprising Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland, set up last December to explore the possibility of entering into a broad-based trade and investment agreement, would complete its report by this December, commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath said here on Tuesday.

Such an agreement would cover trade in goods and services, investment, trade facilitation, technical standards and SPS, intellectual property rights and dispute settlement. The first meeting of the JSG was held in February 2007 and further meetings are held in in New Delhi and Geneva.

Bilateral trade between India and EFTA in 2005-06 was $7.4 billion, comprising exports of $623.11 million and imports of $6.85 billion. The growth in bilateral trade was 9.3% in 2005-06 over 2004-05, but while India’s exports to EFTA shrank by over 3%, imports from EFTA grew by 11%.

Among the four EFTA member countries, India’s largest trading partner is Switzerland followed by Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. India was looking at a deeper economic engagement with EFTA as well as widening and deepening the trade basket with EFTA. According to the government, the strong technology orientation of EFTA states can be gainfully coupled with the huge skilled human skilled resources base of India to yield rich dividends on both sides

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