EFTA and Korea hold fifth Joint Committee meeting under free trade agreement

Published 11-03-2016
Delegations from the EFTA States and the Republic of Korea convened in Seoul on 11 March for their fifth Joint Committee meeting under the EFTA-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA), nearly ten years after its entry into force in 2006.

Ambassador Didier Chambovey from the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs acted as EFTA’s spokesperson in the Joint Committee, while Director-General Seung-il Cheong from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy led the Korean delegation.

The previous day, in preparation for the Joint Committee, experts on customs and origin matters had reviewed the implementation of the FTA in a dedicated Subcommittee meeting.

In the Joint Committee, delegations discussed the status of bilateral trade between the two parties and noted the good progress made in trade between the EFTA States and Korea since the entry into force of the FTA. The Committee also reviewed and discussed possible further developments in issues related to rules of origin; market access for industrial, agricultural and fisheries products; trade in services; investment; technical barriers to trade; sanitary and phytosanitary measures; trade remedies, trade and sustainable development and procedures for the implementation of Joint Committee Decisions. It was agreed that the next meeting of the Joint Committee should take place in the first half of 2018 in Geneva.

Total merchandise trade between the EFTA States and Korea stood at USD 9 billion in 2015. Among EFTA’s leading exports to Korea were machinery, watches, pharmaceuticals and electrical machinery. The main import items from Korea were ships, boats and floating structures, electrical machinery and vehicles. Trade in services and foreign direct investment are also substantial between EFTA and Korea.