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Business associations see agreement with India as an opportunity

Swiss business associations welcome the signing of the EFTA free trade agreement with India. The agreement offers opportunities for the export industry. However, they still lack the final draft text for a conclusive assessment.

The business umbrella organization Economiesuisse described the signing of the free trade agreement with India at Platform X as a milestone for Switzerland as an export nation. With the free trade agreement, EFTA and India are sending a clear signal against isolationism and protectionism.

The Scienceindustries association, which represents the chemical, pharmaceutical and life sciences sectors, was more cautious on Sunday. "If properly designed, a free trade agreement with India can be an important step for Switzerland as a business location in order to better tap into the Indian market," Scienceindustries Director Stephan Mumenthaler was quoted as saying in a press release.

Definitive draft text required

As the largest export industry, the chemical and pharmaceutical industry is particularly dependent on global access to relevant sales and procurement markets. However, a final assessment of the free trade agreement will only be possible once the final draft text is available. For Scienceindustries, it is important that the overall package is right.

Swissmem, the association of the Swiss tech industry, described the conclusion of the free trade agreement as "a ray of hope in a difficult phase for export companies". Tariffs of up to 22 percent would now be eliminated.

The agreement will significantly improve the competitiveness of the Swiss tech industry in this important growth market. This applies in particular to competitors from China, the UK, the EU and the USA, which have not yet been able to conclude such an agreement, Swissmem added.

Significant export market

According to Swissmem, India is an important sales market for the Swiss tech industry, which also includes the mechanical, electrical and metal industries as well as related technology sectors. No other major market has shown comparable growth momentum over the past three years. Between 2020 and 2023, the export volume grew cumulatively by 60 percent - from 636 million to more than one billion Swiss francs.

For her part, President of the Swiss Confederation Viola Amherd explained on X that the agreement would create more opportunities for Swiss companies, stimulate new investment and promote high-quality jobs.

©Keystone/SDA

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