EFTA States pursue free trade negotiations with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan

Published 12-04-2013
Delegations met for an eighth round of negotiations on a broad-based preferential trade agreement from 8 to 11 April 2013 in Irkutsk, Russia.

During the round, experts from the four EFTA States and the members of the customs union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan addressed most parts of the draft free trade agreement, making progress, inter alia, on trade in industrial and agricultural products, trade in services and investment, and sustainable development. Delegations agreed on a sequence of further negotiation meetings in the course of this year.

The EFTA team was headed by Mr Jan Farberg, Director General at the Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industry, while Ms Ekaterina Mayorova, Deputy Director of the Department for Trade Negotiations at the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, led the delegations of the customs union states.

The three countries forming the Russia/Belarus/Kazakhstan customs union are EFTA’s sixth largest export destination and fifth largest import source outside the European Union, with two-way merchandise trade worth USD 8.6 billion in 2012, and a significant partner for trade in services and investment.