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Trade agreement to provide zero tariffs on almost all of its exports to India, says Norway



Norway on Sunday announced that the Trade and Economic Participation Agreement (TEPA) between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) will provide zero tariffs on almost all of its exports to India. The country also announced there will be no capping on number of professionals, planning to come there for work.

Also read: India’s gains from trade pact with European trade association to come from promised investments, not tariff cuts: Research body

Norway is a member of EFTA along with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. The Prime Minister of Norway, Jonas Gahr Store said that India will provide big export opportunities for Norwegian businesses. “After the agreement, this could become one of the most important trade agreements Norway has ever entered,” he said in a statement.

The agreement was signed on Sunday. Describing the event as ‘tremendous’, Norway’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Jan Christian Vestre said: “Norwegian businesses that export to India, today, meet high tariff barriers of up to 40 per cent in certain goods. With the new agreements, we have secured zero tariff on almost all the exports.” Vestre was addressing a press conference in the national capital after signing of the agreement.

The trade agreement is a part of the government export initiative ‘Hele Norge Eksporterer’. Accordingly, as the first in Europe, Norwegian enterprises get exemption from custom duties on most of the goods they export to India. These are advantage enterprises in EU countries and the UK do not have, a statement issued by the Norwegian embassy said.

Further, it said that a good example is seafood businesses that today must pay 33 per cent tariff in India. With this agreement, Salmon and mackerel from Norway will be subject to zero tariffs after five years. “This gives Norwegian exporters large competitive advantages compared to competitors in Europe and the rest of the world,” Vestre said.

He also said that the agreement contributes to strengthening the cooperations between the countries and provides Norway with a new platform for discussion with India. “In a turbulent world, with geopolitical tensions, it is important to strengthen the ties between India and the West. The agreement also elevates climate ambitions and will ensure workers and women’s rights,” he said.

The agreement talks about a $100 billion foreign direct investment in India which will create one million jobs in India over a period of 15 years. “The EFTA countries commit to promoting investments and creation of more jobs in India. A designated officer will be established in India to support Norwegian businesses in India,” Vestre added. As on date, 130 companies from Norway are already working in India.

The Minister highlighted that India will undergo a major green and digital transition and, in this context, Norwegian businesses have a lot to offer within everything from renewal energy, health technology, green mobility and seafood. “The agreement provides large possibilities for trade and investments in a market that is growing rapidly. Through investments in India, Norwegian businesses can contribute to sustainable development,” he said.

Also read: India, EFTA bloc likely to sign free trade pact on March 10

Among EFTA members, India has received about $10 billion in foreign direct investments (FDI) from Switzerland between April, 2000 and December, 2023. It is the 12th largest investor in India. The FDI inflow was $721.52 million from Norway, $29.26 million from Iceland and $105.22 million from Liechtenstein during the period.

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