The EFTA Council discusses the upcoming EFTA Ministerial meeting and current free trade negotiations

Published 04-10-2012
The EFTA Council met for the seventh time in 2012 in Geneva on 4 October 2012 under the chairmanship of Iceland, which holds the rotating EFTA chair during the second half of this year. The Council discussed the Ministerial meeting in November and ongoing free trade processes.

The Council discussed arrangements for the Ministerial meeting in Geneva on 12 November, where Ministers will review EFTA’s relations with non-EU countries and meet with the EFTA Parliamentary Committee.

The Council reviewed the latest round of free trade negotiations with the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan that were held in Ålesund, Norway from 17 to 20 September 2012. Progress was made during the round and a detailed programme of follow-up work was agreed upon ahead of the next round scheduled for early 2013 in Kazakhstan. A third round of negotiations on a comprehensive free trade agreement between the EFTA States and Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama was held from 20 to 24 August 2012 in San José, Costa Rica. Constructive discussions were held in all areas and delegations concurred to convene again at the end of October 2012 with the aim of finalising the negotiating process soon thereafter.

The Council also approved operating grants for two European standardisation organisations, which EFTA jointly supports with the EU.

The meeting marked the first for Mr Kristinn F. Árnason in the position of Secretary-General as well as for Ambassadors Martin Eyjólfsson of Iceland and Remigi Winzap of Switzerland. The next Council meeting will take place on 5 November 2012.