On 11 December, the EFTA Council met for the last time in 2013. The members discussed inter alia, the TTIP process, EFTA’s negotiations with India and approved the budget for 2014.
On 18 November 2013, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) held its biannual Ministerial Meeting in Geneva. The meeting was chaired by Ms Aurelia Frick, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Liechtenstein. The EFTA Ministers met with the Undersecretary for Industry Development and Trade Policy of the Philippines, Mr Adrian S. Cristobal Jr, to discuss options for developing closer trade relations between the two sides.
The triennial administrative arrangement which has governed technical cooperation between the EFTA Secretariat and the Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat) since 2005 has just been renewed for the period 2014 to 2016.
A recent Eurostat report shows that the average expenditure per trip was highest for visitors to Iceland (EUR 1 217 per trip in 2010), followed by Norway (EUR 638 per trip in 2007) and Spain (EUR 529 per trip in 2008).
On 6 November, the EFTA Council discussed preparations for the meeting of EFTA Ministers that will take place in Geneva on 18 November under the chairmanship of Liechtenstein.
The EFTA Council met in Geneva on 22 October under the chairmanship of Ambassador Norbert Frick of Liechtenstein, which holds the rotating EFTA chair during the second half of this year. The Council discussed the Ministerial meeting in November and reviewed ongoing free trade negotiations.
The annual meeting of EFTA and EU Ministers of Finance and Economy (the “EFTA ECOFIN”) took place on 15 October 2013 in Luxembourg. The main topic for discussion was cooperation in the field of financial services and economic dynamics in Europe.
Ambassador Harald Neple met with Secretary-General Kristinn F. Árnason on 23 September in Geneva to present his credentials as Norway‘s representative to EFTA.
At the meeting of the EFTA Council on 11 July 2013 in Geneva, the incoming Council Chair, Liechtenstein, presented its priorities for the second half of the year, which are based on the conclusions from the Ministerial meeting in Trondheim, Norway. The Council also reviewed the latest round of free trade negotiations between EFTA and the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
On 24 June 2013, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) held its summer Ministerial meeting in Trondheim, Norway. The meeting was chaired by Mr Trond Giske, Minister of Trade and Industry of Norway. Ministers of the four EFTA States (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) signed free trade agreements with the Central American States of Costa Rica and Panama, represented by Ms Anabel González, Minister of Foreign Trade of Costa Rica and Mr Ricardo Quijano, Minister of Trade and Industry of Panama; and with Bosnia and Herzegovina, represented by Mr Mirko Šarović, Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations. A joint declaration on cooperation was signed with Myanmar, represented by Mr Pwint San, Deputy Minister of Commerce.