Norway takes over chair of the EFTA Council

Published 14-07-2011
The EFTA Council met in Geneva on 13 July 2011. Norway, which now holds the rotating Council chairman­ship, presented its priorities for the second half of the year. The Council reviewed last month’s Ministerial meeting in Liechtenstein and discussed relations with countries outside the European Union.

Norway’s priorities for the second half of 2011 cover both internal EFTA affairs, including negotiations between the EFTA Member States on the further liberalisation of trade in agricultural products, and EFTA’s free trade relations with countries outside the European Union. The Association now has 23 free trade agreements (FTAs) with 32 countries and territories (see overview in EFTA at a Glance).

The Council reviewed the Ministerial meeting, held on 21 June, at which EFTA Ministers signed a free trade agreement with Hong Kong, China.

The Council discussed the current state of play in FTA negotiations with numerous countries, including Indonesia, India, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. It also reviewed the results of recent Joint Committee meetings under EFTA’s FTA with the South African Customs Union (SACU) and the Joint Declaration on Cooperation with Malaysia. Malaysia and EFTA have agreed to establish a cooperation programme and to pursue the possibility of negotiations on a free trade agreement.
The next Council meeting will take place on 6 October 2011.