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Nordic EU, EFTA States Call For Indian Free Trade Compromises

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Nordic countries have called on India to compromise in discussions towards free trade agreements with the European Union and the European Free Trade Association.

Sweden and Denmark are members of the EU, while Iceland and Norway are members of EFTA.

The EU and India returned to the negotiating table to discuss a proposed Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement, it was announced in November 2017, after the talks, which began in 2007, were shelved due to irreconcilable differences. These were concerning duties imposed on exports of automobiles from Europe to India, tax cuts on alcohol and dairy products, inadequate intellectual property protections in India, and the EU's refusal to designate India as a "data secure" country, which would impact on its ability to provide IT and associated services to the European market.

Meanwhile, delegations from the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and India met for the 17th round of negotiations on a Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement from September 18 to 21, 2017, in Delhi, India, where expert working groups convened to continue discussions in the areas of trade in goods, rules of origin, trade in services, and intellectual property rights. Work on other topics foreseen to be covered by the agreement were provisionally concluded in earlier stages of the negotiations, EFTA said.

In New Delhi, ambassadors from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden called on India to push for the conclusion of the talks. It was pointed out that high customs duties are prohibiting Nordic firms from investing in manufacturing operations in India and it was said the country also should soften its stance on trade in agricultural products.