ANI Photo | Here to enhance collaboration between European free trade partners, India: Norway’s Trade Minister

Norway’s Minister of Trade and Industry Jan Christian Vestre has said his India visit aims to enhance collaboration between European free trade partners and India, improve framework conditions for job creation, value creation, investments.
“We are here to enhance the collaboration between the European free trade partners, including Norway, which I represent, and India, to see how we can improve the framework conditions for job creation, value creation, investments, how we can work together in terms of accelerating the green and digital transition, how we can collaborate on research and development, innovation, technology, prosperity… and FTA in India, we have been negotiating on a potential free trade agreement for the last 15 years,” the Norway minister said.
The minister said: “We have made quite some efforts this year. This is my third time in India this year and I’m very happy to see that we are also progressing now, meaning we’re moving forward. We have solved a lot of issues.”
He further said that there are some remaining issues, “but I’m still optimistic that there might be opportunities for us to enter into such an agreement and such a partnership, which will be very beneficial for both India and for the countries we are representing.”
European Free Trade Association member countries and India are making “progress” on an agreement on free trade, with officials saying that the two sides have “never been closer” to a pact.
In exclusive interviews with ANI on Wednesday, the Norwegian Trade Minister Vestre and Swiss State Secretary for Economic Affairs Helene Budliger Artieda, commended growing ties between India and EFTA member countries.
However, they refused to comment on the deadline for the finalisation of talks on free trade.
The European Free Trade Association is a trade organisation and free trade area consisting of four European states- Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
The two officials were on a visit to India to hold a discussion with the Indian government on a trade pact between New Delhi and the four nations.
EFTA and India began talking about a Free Trade Agreement 15 years ago, and despite 20 rounds of negotiations, they have not yet been closed.
Norway Trade Minister Vestre informed that he is happy with the progress on the free trade agreement between India and four European countries.
Though both ministers refrained from mentioning any deadline for the pact, they said both sides are positive and they are hoping that the agreement will be finalised “soon.”
This is the third visit of Vestre to India in 2023 and the seventh for Artieda.

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