EFTA to expand its free trade network
The EFTA states plan to expand their network of free trade agreements and develop existing agreements. To this end, the EFTA ministers will be meeting in Malbun on Monday. The consequences of Brexit are also on the agenda.
On Monday, the half-yearly ministerial meeting of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) will take place in Malbun. Under the leadership of the current EFTA Ministerial Chair Aurelia Frick, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Liechtenstein, ministers will discuss expanding the network of the EFTA free trade agreements, as the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research reported in a press release.
Specifically, the EFTA is aiming to conclude free trade agreements with high-growth emerging markets such as India, Malaysia, the Mercosur countries and Vietnam. In the first half of June, delegations from EFTA and Mercosur convened in Geneva for a ninth round of negotiations. According to an EFTA press release, both parties aimed for a speedy conclusion of the negotiations.
In Malbun, the focus will shift to the further development of existing free trade agreements, namely those with Canada, Chile, Mexico and the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). At present, the EFTA has 29 free trade agreements with 40 countries and territories outside the European Union. The ministers also intend to talk about the United Kingdom leaving the EU and any potential consequences for the EFTA. Switzerland and Liechtenstein have already concluded agreements with the UK that will assure the continuation of sound economic and trade relations after Brexit.