A Potential Benefits To Boost Trade And Economic Partnership
Ministers and high-ranking officials from India and the EFTA States—Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland—met in New Delhi to discuss the likelihood of picking up the Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA) negotiations. The participants acknowledged the difficulties brought on by the current global economic and trade climate, as well as the necessity of addressing the problems relating to the bilateral trade and economic partnership in a positive and practical way. A more inclusive global trading system will be helped by both parties' continued efforts to resolve all outstanding concerns and deepen and improve their economic collaboration.
As a substitute trading bloc for those European nations who were unable or unwilling to join the European Union (EU), the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is an international organisation that was founded in 1960. Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland are included in EFTA; they are not members of the EU, but they do enjoy access to its single market thanks to a number of agreements.
With a combined population of little over 14 million, the comparatively modest EFTA states have something to offer India. The EFTA states may be small, but their economies are strong, with close to $1.3 trillion in imports and exports of goods and services in 2021, ranking them as the eighth and tenth largest service exporters and importers, respectively, in the world. Due to their topographic limitations, these small mountainous nations transformed their work force into highly trained professionals. In terms of innovation, competitiveness, wealth creation per resident, life expectancy, and quality of life, the four countries currently rank among the best in the world. Pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, machinery manufacturing, R&D-driven technological products, geothermal-related technologies, marine technologies, energy-related services, financial services, banking, and insurance are all industries where EFTA businesses are global leaders. Trade links between India and the EFTA nations are anticipated to grow when trade negotiations resume. In order to expand its export markets, India has been working to improve its economic ties with EFTA nations. On the other hand, the EFTA nations want to increase their market share in the quickly expanding Indian market. With the EU, UK, Israel, and other parties, New Delhi is already negotiating a trade agreement.
The Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA) is a specific kind of economic partnership contract. TEPA agreements include a wide range of economic activities, including investment, trade in goods and services, and intellectual property. They also involve competition law and government contracting. Because the parties involved can customise the agreement to their unique needs and interests, TEPA agreements offer flexibility in terms of negotiating terms and conditions. TEPA agreements are not intended to be unilateral; rather, they are intended to produce mutual benefits for both parties. Accordingly, the agreement should benefit both parties, as increased trade and investment result in increased economic growth and job creation. Stronger labour and environmental requirements, measures for resolving disputes, and enforcement mechanisms are frequently included in TEPA agreements.
India is a growing country with a more diverse economic structure than the EFTA states, which are highly developed economies with a focus on high-tech industry and services. In the negotiation of a TEPA, bridging the chasm between these many economic frameworks can be difficult. To promote free and fair trade between the parties, the agreement must address concerns about market access as well as tariffs, quotas, and non-tariff barriers. Establishing a successful commercial partnership might be difficult due to divergent standards, laws, and regulations. Taking on regulatory obstacles and streamlining processes might take time and call for close collaboration between the parties. Despite being small, EFTA countries have highly competitive economies, especially in industries like manufacturing machinery, biotechnology, and pharmaceuticals. To guarantee a level playing field and fair competition, it is crucial to address competitive issues. Establishing long-term, fruitful cooperation between the parties requires addressing environmental and social issues, such as advancing gender equality and sustainable development. It can be difficult to negotiate an agreement that serves the interests of all parties concerned while still being mutually beneficial. This entails dealing with unresolved problems and reaching a fair compromise with active political involvement and direction.
EFTA has a proven track record of negotiating trade agreements that are mutually beneficial, and its large network of 29 free trade agreements (FTAs) with 40 partner nations to date attests to this. These FTA partners account for over 22% of imports into EFTA countries. In Asia, agreements have been reached with Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea, and Hong Kong; talks with Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam are also ongoing. A TEPA between India, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, and these other countries will and needs to benefit all parties. A TEPA between India and EFTA nations has major potential advantages. The pact will strengthen relationships and boost trade between dependable democratic allies who support causes like gender equality and sustainable development. EFTA is dedicated to making these trade negotiations a top priority and seeks a quick progress towards a fair deal with significant political input and direction.