Will get duty-free access to India for selected agri products: Switzerland

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Switzerland on Sunday said it will get duty-free access to the Indian market for selected agricultural products after a transition period of up to ten years under the trade agreement signed between India and EFTA.

India on Sunday signed the Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA) with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) under which New Delhi received an investment commitment of USD 100 billion from these four European countries.

EFTA members are Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

“India is now the most populous country in the world. The growing middle class in particular is contributing to major growth potential. However, India currently levies very high import tariffs on most products,” Switzerland said in a statement.

Under the FTA, India will lift or partially remove customs tariffs on 95.3 per cent of industrial imports from Switzerland (excluding gold) either immediately or with transition periods, it added.

Swiss Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin and his counterparts from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway signed the agreement with Trade Minister Piyush Goyal here.

“Switzerland will also have tariff-free access to the Indian market for selected agricultural products after a transition period of up to ten years. This will strengthen the competitiveness of Swiss exports to India,” it added.

Switzerland’s concessions to India for agricultural products are based on previous free trade agreements and are in line with Swiss agricultural policy.

In addition, the statement said, improvements have been made to intellectual property rights, in particular with regard to legal certainty, patent procedures and the protection of ‘Swissness’.

“This will not restrict access to medicines in India. The FTA not only opens up broad market access for Swiss business players but also improves the legal framework, legal certainty and predictability,” it added.

It also said that the agreement contains a comprehensive and legally binding chapter on trade and sustainable development.

“The parliamentary approval process will be initiated immediately so that Switzerland can ratify the agreement by 2025 at the latest,” it said.

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