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Switzerland agrees to offer concessions to fast-track India-EFTA FTA

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As Switzerland and India celebrate 75 years of their friendship treaty, the former has agreed to offer some concessions as it seeks to fast-track talks on a free trade agreement (FTA) between India and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA)—a free trade area comprising Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland—hoping to sign it this year.

Negotiations for the proposed trade deal have lingered on for over 15 years. 

As Switzerland and India celebrate 75 years of their friendship treaty, the former has agreed to offer some concessions as it seeks to fast-track talks on a free trade agreement (FTA) between India and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA)—a free trade area comprising Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland—hoping to sign it this year.

Helene Budliger, the state secretary in the Swiss state secretariat of economic affairs and Niklaus Samuel Gugger, the Indian-origin member of the Swiss Parliament, are on a visit to India for meetings with commerce minister Piyush Goyal and health minister Mansukh Mandaviya. Top representatives of Swiss companies Novartis and Roche are also travelling with Budliger. 

This is their second meeting in three weeks to push for an early conclusion of the negotiations on the trade deal.

Three sticking points in the talks are migration issues, intellectual property rights and healthcare, a news agency reported.

“Switzerland, as part of EFTA, is keen to conclude a long-term free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with success and this is my top priority. There is a great potential in the economic relationship with India and EFTA countries, in particular Switzerland,” Budliger told a delegation of visiting Indian journalists in Bern. 

“It is a negotiation. It will be difficult to talk about concessions. Just to say I have the mandate to push forward with these negotiations,” she said. 

“I do hope we can better our offer very soon,” Budliger added, hoping that the negotiations will be more dynamic soon. 

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)


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