In the latest episode of businessline’s “State of Economy” podcast, Amiti Sen speaks to Ajay Srivastava, founder, Global Trade Research Initiative on India’s latest milestone in international trade—the signing of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries, including Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.

The agreement, named the India-EFTA Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA), marks a significant step for India, being the first comprehensive FTA with European nations.

The podcast explores the significance of this FTA for India, highlighting its role in diversifying India’s trade partnerships and paving the way for future negotiations with Western nations. Srivastava shares insights into the evolution of India’s trade policies and the strategic implications of engaging with the EFTA bloc.

The specifics of the agreement, including investment commitments, market access given to EFTA countries by India, and the incorporation of new issues such as sustainability, labor standards, and intellectual property rights are highlighted by Srivastava. Srivastava offers an analysis of the enforceability of investment commitments and the potential implications for India’s economic growth trajectory.

The conversation looks at the implications of tariff eliminations on various sectors, ranging from chocolates and watches to smartphones and garments. Shrivastav evaluates the economic rationale behind these tariff concessions and their potential impact on India’s export dynamics.

The implications for services trade, including visa regulations, mutual recognition agreements (MRAs), and intellectual property rights (IPR) commitments are also discussed . Srivastava talks about the challenges and opportunities associated with negotiating Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) for various professional services

Srivastava highlights India’s gains from the India-EFTA FTA and emphasises the importance of monitoring its implementation to assess its real-world impact on India’s economy and trade relations.

Listen in.

(Host: Amiti Sen; Producer: Siddharth Mathew Cherian)

About the State of the Economy Podcast

India’s economy has been hailed as a bright spot amid the general gloom that seems to have enveloped the rest of the world. But several sectors continue to stutter even as others seem set to fire on all cylinders. To help you make sense of the bundle of contradictions that the country is, businessline brings you podcasts with experts ranging from finance and marketing to technology and start-ups.