June 22, 2024

Swiss Import Duty Abolition Negates India’s Gains From FTA

Switzerland which introduced a policy to allow tariff-free entry for all industrial goods from all countries has negated India’s gains from the negotiations for a European Free Trade Association (EFTA) free trade agreement.

Switzerland’s decision that took effect from January 1, 2024 resulted in removing tariffs on products, including chemicals, consumer goods, vehicles and clothing.

Switzerland is India’s top export market among EFTA countries, and the import duty removal means that Indian goods would face a high degree of competition in Switzerland despite a FTA with EFTA.

This was informed in a report by think tank Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI) released earlier this week.

Particularly, EFTA countries are not part of the European Union and comprise of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland and EFTA is an intergovernmental organisation for the promotion of free trade.

India’s exports to EFTA countries during fiscal 2022-23 totaled US $1.92 billion as against $1.74 billion in 2021-22, while imports reached $16.74 billion in 2022-23 down from $25.5 billion in 2021-22.

GTI further said that the trade imbalance between India and Switzerland further complicates the scenario.

In fiscal 2022-23, India’s imports from Switzerland amounted to $15.79 billion as against exports of just $1.34 billion, which lead to a trade deficit of $14.45 billion.

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