EFTA Council Chair outlines priorities for first half of 2014

Published 11-02-2014
Iceland, holding the rotating Council Chair for the first six months of the year, presented its priorities at the first EFTA Council meeting of 2014 on 11 February. EFTA has an ambitious agenda in free trade negotiations and the Council discussed the latest negotiating round with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. The EFTA-Eurostat Technical Cooperation Programme for 2014 was adopted at the meeting.


Priorities for this semester include concluding negotiations with India and Guatemala; moving forward in the talks with the customs union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, as well as with Indonesia and Vietnam; and holding a first round of negotiations with Malaysia. Other objectives for 2014 include conducting exploratory processes on an expansion of the free trade agreements with Canada, Mexico and Turkey and continuing to explore the possibility of developing closer trade relations with other potential partners, such as the Philippines and countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.    

The Council reviewed the recent round of free trade negotiations with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, held from 27 to 30 January 2014 in Astana. Delegations focused on issues related to trade in goods, including customs and origin. The two sides agreed to hold expert meetings before the next round scheduled for April 2014.

The cooperation programme for 2014 between EFTA and Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, includes training courses and seminars for statisticians from various countries, including the non-European Mediterranean states and several Eastern European countries.

The next Council meeting will take place on 27 March 2014.

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