Norway to enjoy zero tariffs on nearly all exports to India

Products like mackerel, herring, and processed goods such as salmon and trout fillets will have zero tariffs within 5 years.
India's Minister of Commerce Piyush Goyal and Minister of Trade Jan Christian Vestre.

India's Minister of Commerce Piyush Goyal and Minister of Trade Jan Christian Vestre.

NFD / Sofie Dege Dimmen

Norway and the other EFTA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland) have reached a historic agreement with India on a trade deal. The agreement was signed in New Delhi by Minister of Trade Jan Christian Vestre and India's Minister of Commerce Piyush Goyal, among others.

Therefore, Norway's exports will be the first in Europe to enjoy tariff-free access for most goods exported to India. Before, the Norwegian government launched the initiative Hele Norge eksporterer (All of Norway exports) and this agreement is part of it.

According to Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, today should be a date to remember: "This is a very important agreement for the business community. India is the world's fifth-largest economy and represents a huge market that will provide significant export opportunities for Norwegian businesses. After the EEA agreement, this could become one of the most important trade agreements Norway has ever entered into."

How affects the Norwegian seafood industry

From 2016 to 2018, the Norwegian Seafood Council worked to implement a project in India. Due to tariff barriers but also challenges with logistics this was postponed. In addition, significant limitations on foreign ownership caused a lack of investment to build modern retail infrastructure.

Because of this, Børge Lotre, Acting Director of Market Insight and Market Access, explained: "After 16 years of negotiations, the agreement opens the doors to significantly improved market access, with zero tariffs on several key products such as salmon, halibut, and cod. This will provide Norwegian exporters with a significant competitive advantage in the Indian market."

In addition, he remarked: "With zero tariffs on products like mackerel, herring, and processed goods such as salmon and trout fillets within 5 years, Norwegian seafood will gain a much more competitive position in one of the world's largest and most sought-after markets."

Polar Quality is one of the companies that exports salmon from Bodø in Nordland to India. Now, it has to pay 33% in tariffs, and from now on it will gradually be reduced to 0 percent.

Climate ambitions and labor and women's rights

It is the first time that India has incorporated references to human rights in a trade agreement, according to the Norwegian government. Consequently, India committed to implement 'Paris Agreement' requirements, ratified multilateral environmental conventions, ILO conventions on labor rights, and international conventions on equality.

Regarding this, Jan Christian Vestre indicated: "In a troubled world with geopolitical and security tensions, it is important to forge closer ties with India. The trade agreement also elevates climate ambitions and aims to secure labor rights and women's rights."

To become a very promising market

Although Norway's trade with India has been relatively limited, it has experienced relevant growth in the past ten years. With this agreement, it is expected to experience a substantial expansion in the future.

Finally, the agreement also includes provisions on trade in services, relatively free movement of people, intellectual property rights, promotion of investments, and trade and sustainable development.

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