India-EFTA FTA: Goyal to meet investors in Switzerland on FDI commitment | Economy & Policy News

Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal is set to travel to Switzerland on Sunday to meet investors, in line with the $100 billion investment commitment under the India-European Free Trade Association (EFTA) trade deal signed earlier this year.

The minister’s visit to Switzerland will also see discussions on the ratification of the trade deal by both sides.

EFTA nations comprise Iceland, Switzerland, Norway, and Liechtenstein. The trade agreement between EFTA and India was signed in March after 16 years of negotiations, involving 21 rounds.

Under the trade agreement, EFTA nations have made an investment commitment of $50 billion within 10 years of this agreement taking effect and an additional $50 billion in the next five years.

For the foreign direct investment (FDI) to materialise, India’s nominal gross domestic product needs to grow at around 9.5 per cent in dollar terms over the next 15 years.

“Sunday’s agenda will involve industry interaction…to see what we can do to kickstart investments. Because $100 billion can’t happen overnight,” Goyal said at an industry event organised by FICCI on Wednesday.

The meeting is likely to see the presence of the industry, mostly from Switzerland.

Though investment will flow from private players and the governments of EFTA countries will only nudge them to invest, India can partially withdraw tariff concessions if the investment commitments are not met.

However, Swiss State Secretary for Economic Affairs Helene Budliger Artieda, who led the negotiations on the EFTA side, said in an interview with Business Standard in March that the commitment was not legally binding on EFTA countries. It is more than a memorandum of understanding.


FTA with UK

The minister further said that India and the United Kingdom (UK) are ‘deeply committed’ to signing a free trade agreement.

“The initial comments being made by the UK government are encouraging…the Labour Party is deeply committed and so is the Modi government,” he told reporters.

Keir Starmer became Britain’s Prime Minister on Friday after his Labour Party’s landslide electoral victory against the Rishi Sunak-led Conservatives. Starmer’s win has renewed hope in the long-pending India-UK trade deal.

India and the UK have been negotiating a trade agreement for two and a half years now. Both sides were looking to seal the deal in July after a new government would take office in New Delhi following the general elections. However, an early election in the UK further delayed the whole process.

First Published: Jul 10 2024 | 6:41 PM IST

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