INDIA SWITZERLAND RELATIONS

CONTEXT:
A virtual meeting took place recently between an Indian Minister and his Swiss Counterpart.

IMPORTANT POINTS:

  • Both the Ministers reiterated the desire to move forward on the India-EFTA Trade & Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA) negotiations.
  • The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is the intergovernmental organisation of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
  • These countries are not part of the European Union (EU) with which India is negotiating a separate trade agreement called the India-EU Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement.
  • The proposed agreement covers trade in goods and services, investments, trade
    facilitation, customs cooperation, protection of intellectual property and public procurement.
  • India-Switzerland Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT)which is under negotiation was also discussed.
  • BITs are treaties between two countries aimed at protecting investments made by investors of both countries.

Multilateral Forums:

  1. The Indian Minister sought support of Switzerland for the joint proposal of India and South Africa in World Trade Organization (WTO) for TRIPS waiver.
  2. South Africa and India have called for the (WTO) to suspend intellectual property (IP) rights related to Covid-19 to ensure equitable sharing of vaccines and new technology to control the pandemic.
  3. A temporary ban would allow multiple actors to start production, instead of having manufacturing concentrated in the hands of a small number of patent holders.

INDIA SWITZERLAND RELATIONS:
India and Switzerland have had cordial and friendly relations since India’s Independence, based on shared values of democracy and rule of law. A Treaty of Friendship between India and Switzerland was signed at New Delhi in 1948.

Economic Relation:

  • As per EXIM Bank, Switzerland was the 11 largest trading partner for India in 2018-19.
  • Switzerland invested FDI equity worth approximately USD 4.781 billion in India from April 2000 to September 2019 thus becoming the 12 largest investor and accounting for about 1.07% of total FDI in India during this period
  • During the visit of Swiss President to India in 2003, an inter-Governmental framework Agreement on Technical and Scientific Cooperation was signed under which an IndoSwiss Joint Research Programme (ISJRP) was launched in 2005.
  • Several Institutes from both the countries have collaborated to impart the highest standards of skill training in India.

E.g.: Bharatiya Skill Development Campus and University.
Indo-Swiss Centre of Excellence, Pune.
Vocational Training Center, Andhra Pradesh.

SOURCE: PIB

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