Nordic countries looking for FTA with India: Envoys

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Kolkata, Feb 27 (IANS) Nordic countries Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden are looking for free trade agreements (FTAs) with India to improve trade relations, their envoys said here on Tuesday.

“There is a lot of wish to attract foreign investment in India. But India has not opened up its economy to the world. We are pushing for a free trade agreement with India,” Denmark’s Ambassador to India Peter Taksoe Jensen said here.

According to him, the trade volume (trade of goods only) between India and the Nordic countries stood at $3 billion, which should be much more if trade in services is included.

They said all these countries have good relations with India.

“We can do much more trade and, in order to get more trade, we need to finish our free trade negotiations. The businesses want to have a regime that is transparent and rule-based. The best way to do that is through free trade agreement,” Iceland’s Ambassador to India Thorir Ibsen said.

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“Lack of the trade agreement is a stumbling block to the growth of our trade,” he said on the sidelines of an interactive session organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce.

Criticising the Narendra Modi government’s move to increase customs tariff on some imported items required for manufacturing of mobile phones and 4G and 5G technology in India, Finland’s Ambassador Nina Irmeli Vaskunlahti said hike on customs duty is making manufacturing expensive in India.

“India is asking foreign companies to come and make in India. Many companies are willing to do so. But their intentions are being blocked by protectionist measures of the Indian government,” she added.

–IANs

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