First EFTA Council meeting under the Swiss Chairmanship

Published 10-07-2018
From left: Kristinn F. Árnason, EFTA Secretary-General, Ylva Bie, Senior Legal Adviser, Didier Chambovey, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Switzerland to EFTA, Chair of the EFTA Council.
The EFTA Council met on 10 July for its sixth meeting in 2018, as Switzerland takes over the rotating EFTA Council Chair for the next six months.

The first Council meeting after the EFTA Ministerial meeting in Iceland was the occasion for delegates to take stock of the Summer Ministerial and discuss third-country relations following recent rounds of negotiations.

Delegates discussed and took note of the priorities of the Swiss Chairmanship, which will hold the Chair until the end of the year. Amongst the priorities is to continue negotiations with Mercosur and Vietnam, with a view to making substantive progress; intensify the work on how to solve the open issues in negotiations with India; continue negotiations with Indonesia, with a view to concluding in 2018, and to resume negotiation with Malaysia.

Other third country related priorities include the modernisation of the existing FTAs with Canada, Chile and Mexico, as well as advancing negotiations with the Southern African Customs Union.

Furthermore, the EFTA Council will: continue to adapt the EFTA Convention and its annexes to changing needs; review the model chapter on trade and sustainable development in EFTA free trade agreements (FTAs); seek ways to improve the monitoring and reporting regarding trade and sustainable development provisions in the FTAs; and continue discussions on the possibility of adding references to gender equality considerations to EFTA FTAs.

The EFTA Member States will also continue to exchange information on Brexit and relations with the United Kingdom.

Read the priorities of the Swiss Chairmanship here

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Seminar on the European Economic Area - Brussels 13 September 2018