India-Switzerland trade pact to be finalized soon

The Hindu Business Line: Aug 15, 2012

Chennai: Negotiations for a free trade agreement between India and Switzerland is expected to conclude soon, said Linus von Castelmur, Ambassador of Switzerland to India.

India has been in talks with the European Free Trade Association which includes Switzerland, Iceland and Norway for over three years now.

“Momentum has picked up now. India, on a political level, has expressed its desire to conclude negotiations by fall (October) this year,” said Castelmur.

Bilateral trade in 2011 was $4.8 billion. It is expected to grow to $6-7 billion by 2015. Switzerland is the eleventh largest foreign investor in India. In 2011, Switzerland exported goods worth $3.3 billion to India and bought goods worth $1.5 billion from India.

India sold $0.5 billion worth software to Swiss enterprises. Over 200 Swiss enterprises have invested over $6 billion in India.

A free trade agreement will ensure greater opportunities for mutual cooperation between enterprises of both countries, said the Ambassador.

“It will unleash a more open framework of interaction. High-end products will find their way into the Indian market. India could remove more products from the tax list or reduce taxes.”

 

The two countries can tap opportunities in pharma, chemicals, jewellery and textiles, besides IT and IT-enabled services.

Switzerland is keen to organise a management conference in September in India for CEOs to understand the business potential in Switzerland.

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