Europe trade group commits to $100 bln 15-year deal: India

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India and a trade group of four European nations signed an economic agreement today aimed at increasing trade and investment, capping nearly 16 years of negotiations.

The deal is a binding agreement for the European Free Trade Association – Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein to invest $100 billion over 15 years in the fast-growing market of 1.4 billion people, said Piyush Goyal, India’s union trade minister.

“It is a modern trade agreement, fair, equitable and win-win for all five countries,” Goyal told a press conference.

The deal is the result of 21 rounds of negotiation, said the head of Swiss Economic Affairs, Guy Parmelin, calling India a market of immense opportunities for trade and investment.

India, in the last two years, has signed trade agreements with Australia and the United Arab Emirates, and officials say a deal with Britain is in the final stages, all part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s goal of achieving $1 trillion in annual exports by 2030.

The European group, formed in 1960 as a counterweight to the European Union, is the world’s 10th-largest goods trader and the fifth-largest in services. It has signed around 30 trade agreements with 40 countries and territories outside the EU.