EFTA pursues free trade talks with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan

Published 04-02-2013
Delegations from the EFTA States and the customs union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan met from 28 to 31 January 2013 in Astana, Kazakhstan, for a seventh round of negotiations on a broad-based free trade agreement.

Covering most areas of the foreseen agreement, the discussions allowed for further clarification and progress to be made, including on market access for goods. Delegations agreed on an extensive work programme in preparation for the next round of negotiations, planned for April, and set out an ambitious schedule of further meetings for 2013.

The EFTA team was headed by Mr Jan Farberg, Director General at the Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industry, while Mr Maxim Medvedkov, Director of the Department for Trade Negotiations in the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, acted as spokesperson for the states of the customs union.

The three countries forming the Russia/Belarus/Kazakhstan customs union are EFTA’s sixth largest export destination and fourth largest import source outside the European Union, with two-way merchandise trade worth USD 10.9 billion in 2011, and a significant partner for trade in services and investment.