EFTA Parliamentary Committee support stronger trade relations with Canada and Mexico

Published: 12-05-2017
The EFTA Parliamentary Committee at the Senate by Senator Hector Larios Cordova
A delegation from the EFTA Parliamentary Committee visited Canada and Mexico from 7 to 12 May 2017 to promote and support enhanced trade cooperation with these countries. The delegation met with parliamentarians, ministers and representatives of both the business community and civil organisations

Mr Svein Roald Hansen, Member of the Norwegian Parliament and the Chair of the EFTA Parliamentary Committee headed the delegation.

Trade and investment are central to the economic growth of the EFTA States. Canada and Mexico are important trade partners for EFTA and we therefore strongly support the ongoing dialogue with these countries to modernise the current agreements,” said Mr Hansen.

EFTA currently has 27 free trade agreements (FTAs) covering 38 countries making it one of the largest free trade networks in the world.

Strengthening trade relations with Canada

The delegation spent two days in Ottawa and had several meetings in the House of Commons including with the Standing Committee on International Trade. They also had a meeting with Parliamentary Secretary Pamela Goldsmith-Jones which represented the Minister of International Trade.

The EFTA-Canada Free Trade Agreement entered into force in 2009 and focuses on trade in goods. Trade between Canada and EFTA was worth almost 7 billion US Dollars in 2016 (Link to trade statistics EFTA-Canada).

The current Free Trade Agreement addresses to a limited extent the wide range of economic activities that take place between Canada and the EFTA States today. We therefore support the ongoing dialogue on the possibility of modernising and expanding the Agreement to areas such as trade in services, investment, government procurement, intellectual property rights, and trade and sustainable development”, said Mr Hansen said at the meeting with the House of Commons.

During the delegation’s stay in Canada further items were also discussed such as the future developments in the WTO, the new Canadian Trade Agenda, a possible renegotiation of NAFTA and the future of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Negotiations with Mexico

The delegation also visited Mexico. The EFTA-Mexico Free Trade Agreement entered into force in 2001 and focuses on trade in goods. Trade between Mexico and EFTA has increased in the past decade, and in 2016 it was worth 2.7 billion US Dollars (Link to trade statistics EFTA-Mexico).

We believe this positive trend will continue, and that there is great potential for further trade and investment between our countries in the future”, said Mr Hansen in a meeting with the Senate.

He further underlined that since the current FTA mainly covers trade in goods, the EFTA Parliamentary Committee strongly support the current negotiations for a more modern agreement in order to also expand on areas such as trade in services, investment, government procurement, intellectual property rights, and trade and sustainable development.

Over three days, the delegation met with the Senate, the Minister of Economy Mr. Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal and representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

EFTA Parliamentary Committee meets with the Standing Committee on International Trade of the House of Commons in  Canada

 

Camilla Langsholt
Senior Officer
EEA Coordination Division
Brussels

+32 22861 771

Trine Berggren
Senior Officer
EEA Coordination Division
Brussels

+32 22861 723