India, EFTA to conclude free trade pact in one year

April 29th, 2008 - 5:58 pm ICT by admin  


New Delhi, April 29 (IANS) India and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), comprising Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland, have decided to conclude a free trade agreement within next one year, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said Tuesday. “In January this year we signed with the EFTA countries the agreement to start negotiations for a free trade agreement. These negotiations are going to commence shortly and we believe that we’ll be able to conclude the EFTA free trade agreement within one year,” the minister said here during a bilateral meeting with Switzerland.

The 25-member Swiss business delegation, on a six-day visit to India, is led by Doris Leuthard, Swiss federal councillor and head of the Department of Economic Affairs.

“I have said that India is a country which respects geographical indications, respects intellectual property and we will build these into our agreement on trade,” the minister said.

Among the four EFTA member countries, India’s largest trading partner is Switzerland followed by Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

EFTA was founded in 1960 to achieve growth and prosperity among its member states as well as promoting closer economic cooperation among western European countries.

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