Published On: Mon, Mar 11th, 2024

India’s new £77bn trade deal with four European countries as UK continues negotiations | World | News

India struck a massive multi-billion pound deal on Sunday, confirming the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with four European countries.

As a result of this agreement, New Delhi will lift most import tariffs on industrial products coming from Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein, set to invest around £77.8billion ($1000bn) in India over a 15-year period.

The deal is the result of nearly 16 years of negotiations and comes as India and Britain are in the final stages of negotiation to strike their own agreement.

Last week, UK’s Trade Minister Kemi Badenoch suggested there may be a chance for London and New Delhi to sign a free trade deal even before the spring, but added she didn’t want to use the upcoming elections in India “as a deadline”.

Over the last two years, India has already celebrated trade agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Australia.

Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein aren’t part of the European Union, but instead make up the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

Speaking about the trade agreement, the Swiss Government said in a statement India is set to either lift or partially remove – either immediately or over time – very high customs duties on 95.3 percent of industrial imports from Bern, with the exception of gold.

Norway also commented on the historic deal, saying thanks to it the country’s companies will no longer have to meet import taxes of up to 40 percent when dealing with India.

Indian Trade Minister Piyush Goyal hailed the deal as “a modern trade agreement, fair, equitable and win-win for all five countries”.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi also celebrated the deal with EFTA with a statement, where he said his government’s next goal is to make his country the “third largest economy in the world”.

Writing on the social media platform X, he added: “This landmark pact underlines our commitment to boosting economic progress and create opportunities for our youth.

“The times ahead will bring more prosperity and mutual growth as we strengthen our bonds with EFTA nations.”

While the terms of the agreement have been laid out, the five countries involved will now need to ratify the deal before it can take effect.

This landmark agreement comes ahead of a general election in India expected to be held between April and May, during which Mr Modi will seek a record third term in office.

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