EFTA and Israel to review Free Trade Agreement

Published 13-06-2008
The Joint Committee under the EFTA-Israel Free Trade Agreement (FTA) met on 11-12 June 2008 in Crans-Montana, Switzerland.

The Free Trade Agreement between the four EFTA States (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) and Israel, which entered into force in 1993, is one of EFTA’s oldest existing FTAs. Last year, the value of total merchandise trade between the two sides (imports plus exports) exceeded 1.5 billion USD, up 20% from 2006.

Both EFTA and Israel have extensive FTA networks, which was discussed during the meeting. Looking at developments, particularly in the areas of agriculture and intellectual property rights (IPR) since the entry into force, the Parties concurred that the time had come to examine an updating of the FTA. Follow-up steps will include the exchange of text proposals on a revised Protocol on Processed Agricultural Products and continued work at expert level on pending IPR issues.

The EFTA Delegation was headed by Mr Martin Zbinden, Minister, State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, Switzerland, while Mr Roy Nir, Deputy Director, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Labor, was the spokesperson for the Israeli delegation. In preparation for the Joint Committee meeting, customs and origin as well as agricultural experts met on 11 May to discuss specific issues.