EFTA and Kosovo sign Joint Declaration on Cooperation

Published 23-11-2018
From left: Henri Gétaz, EFTA Secretary-General, Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade of Iceland, Ms Aurelia Frick, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Justice and Culture of Liechtenstein, Endrit Shala, Minister of Trade and Industry of the Republic of Kosovo, Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, Federal Councillor and Head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research of Switzerland, and Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, Minister of Trade and Industry of Norway.
Ministers from the Member States of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland – and from Kosovo, signed a Joint Declaration on Cooperation (JDC) on 23 November 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland. Through the JDC, both sides commit to further strengthening their economic relations. The JDC establishes a Joint EFTA-Kosovo Committee, thereby providing the Parties with a forum for discussing ways and means to enhance economic exchange and cooperation between the two sides.

The EFTA-Kosovo JDC was signed by Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, Federal Councillor and Head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research of Switzerland, Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade of Iceland, Ms Aurelia Frick, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Justice and Culture of Liechtenstein, and Mr Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, Minister of Trade and Industry of Norway, as well as by Mr Endrit Shala, Minister of Trade and Industry of the Republic of Kosovo.

Economic relations between the EFTA States and Kosovo

EFTA imports from Kosovo in 2017 amounted to 24 million Euros, which is almost 5 times higher than in 2012 and shows the growing importance of exchanges between the partners. The main imports include furniture and plastic articles.

EFTA exports to Kosovo amounted to 36 million Euros in 2017, which is a 50% increase compared to the 23.7 million Euros in 2012. The main exports relate to vehicles and pharmaceuticals.

"Right now, EFTA has 28 Free Trade Agreements covering 39 countries and territories outside the EU and Joint Declaration on Cooperation with six partners. Looking at our map of the South-Eastern Europe, there is one white spot for a partner we do not have a Joint Declaration or a Free-Trade Agreement with: Kosovo. I am delighted that we can correct this today," said  Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, who Chairs the EFTA Ministerial meeting in Geneva on 23 November.

EFTA as a trade partner

EFTA’s global network of preferential trade agreements outside the EU now consists of 28 agreements with 39 partners. Seven joint declarations of cooperation (JDCs) complement this network. Over 12 percent of EFTA’s total exports go to these trade partners and they are the source of 7.5 percent of EFTA imports. In 2017, EFTA’s global trade accounted for USD 766 billion, 43.5% of which was with countries outside the EU. 

Find more photos from the signing ceremony here.

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