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European Free Trade Association reports on trade talks

Tax-news | 02 May 2017

European Free Trade Association reports on trade talks

by Ulrika Lomas

The European Free Trade Association, which comprises Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein, has published its 56th Annual Report, which includes details of the bloc’s free trade agenda.

In 2016, 27 FTAs were operational with 38 partner countries and customs territories. The EFTA signed free trade agreements (FTA) with Georgia and the Philippines, and began talks with Ecuador. Trade negotiations are ongoing with India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

In the case of Vietnam, two meetings at the level of heads of delegation were held in 2016, "with a view to finding a common landing zone," and it was agreed that the two sides would resume negotiations in the spring of 2017. Negotiations with Indonesia were put on hold in 2014, but resumed with a heads meeting in early 2016 and two negotiation rounds. The aim is to complete talks in 2017.

EFTA said it hopes talks with India will be finalized as swiftly as possible.

Exploratory talks have been concluded with the Mercosur states, and the EFTA Council hopes negotiations will be launched in the coming year. The Mercosur member states are Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Venezuela’s membership was suspended in December 2016 however.

Concluding, EFTA said it is reviewing options for the development and modernization of existing FTAs, including those with Canada, Mexico, and Turkey.

 source: Tax-news