[Ip-health] PTI - India, EFTA to resume FTA talks this week in Geneva

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Fri Oct 28 08:51:26 PDT 2016



India and the EFTA, a bloc of four European countries including
Switzerland, will resume the long—stalled negotiations for a proposed free
trade agreement this week in Geneva to iron out differences.

A team of officials from the commerce ministry is visiting Geneva to resume
talks, an official said.

“The three-day negotiations will start from tomorrow,” the official added.

The last round of negotiations was held in November 2013 and thereafter the
negotiations have remained suspended.

In June this year, a meeting between the chief negotiators of India and
European Free Trade Association (EFTA) was held here to take stock of the
ongoing negotiations for Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA).

Both sides had expressed willingness to jointly address the major
outstanding issues and agreeing to an early resumption of negotiations and
concluding a balanced agreement in a time—bound manner.

The trade pact talks had started in October 2008. So far, 13 rounds of
negotiations have been held at the level of chief negotiators.

The four EFTA members are - Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.

The proposed pact covers trade in goods and services, market access for
investments, protection of intellectual property and public procurement.

Negotiations were stuck on some issues related with intellectual property
rights. EFTA wants India to commit more in IPR. They were also demanding
for data exclusivity, which India is completely opposed to.

The two way trade between the regions stood at USD 21.5 billion in 2015-16
as against USD 24.5 billion in the previous fiscal. The trade gap is highly
in the favour of EFTA group.

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