A virtual meeting took place recently between an Indian Minister and his Swiss Counterpart.
- 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.
- The Indian Minister sought support of Switzerland for the joint proposal of India and South Africa in World Trade Organization (WTO) for TRIPS waiver.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.