EFTA Council Chair outlines priorities for first half of 2016

Published 12-02-2016
From left: Adalsteinn Leifsson, Director, EFTA Secretariat; Ambassador Remigi Winzap of Switzerland, Chair of the EFTA Council; Marc Wey, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Mission of Switzerland to EFTA and WTO
On 11 February 2016, the EFTA Council met in Geneva. Switzerland, holding the rotating Council chair for the first half of the year, presented its priorities.

Regarding ongoing free trade negotiations, Switzerland’s priorities for the first half of 2016 include continuing negotiations with Georgia and the Philippines with the aim to reach a conclusion. Resuming negotiations with India and Indonesia and holding two rounds with Malaysia are also among the objectives this semester.

Negotiations with Turkey on a substantive expansion of the EFTA-Turkey FTA are planned to continue. It is also the aim of the chair to start updating and developing the EFTA-Mexico Free Trade Agreement (FTA) as well as to begin the formal exploratory process with Canada regarding a possible update of the existing agreement.

In relation to new partners, the priorities include pursuing exploratory talks with the MERCOSUR States and beginning preparatory work with Ecuador in order to start negotiations on a free trade agreement. The priorities further aim at deepening the trade policy dialogue with the US and continuing the interactions with the EU in the context of the ongoing Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations.

Among other issues, the cooperation programme for 2016 between EFTA and Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, was adopted at the meeting. The programme contains training courses and seminars for statisticians from various countries.


Priorities during the Swiss EFTA Council Chair, first half 2016

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