EFTA Council meets to discuss ongoing third-country work

Published 22-03-2022
The EFTA Council is chaired by Icelandic Ambassador Harald Aspelund (right), here with Deputy Secretary-General Frank J. Büchel.

On Tuesday 22 March, EFTA Ambassadors met in Geneva for the second Council in 2022. Delegates discussed ongoing third-country processes, cooperation with the EU, and the impact of the war in Ukraine.

The EFTA Council notes its statement released on 9 March 2022, strongly condemning the invasion of Ukraine. Negotiations with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan had been suspended. The Secretariat also informed the members about how the war is impacting its work in Brussels.

The working group on preference utilisation rates and the working group on trade and sustainable development (TSD) had achieved progress in their projects and had held multiple meetings in 2022. Work was continuing and the Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) monitoring mechanism was being finetuned with regard to further partner countries, such as for example for the upcoming Joint Committee meeting with Georgia.

Delegates approved a framework partnership agreement with Small Business Standards (SBS) for the award of EFTA grants in the field of standardisation.

Furthermore, the EFTA Secretariat updated delegates on the processes with Chile, ASEAN, and Thailand. A heads meeting with Thailand had taken place on 14 March, preparing the ground for the resumption of negotiations. Heads and experts met with Chile in February.

The Secretariat also informed the Council about the progress of the preparations for the EFTA Ministerial meeting in Borgarnes, Iceland, on 20 June 2022.

The Council approved the proposed schedule of meetings for the second half of 2022. The next meeting is scheduled to take place on Thursday, 12 May.

Find pictures from the meeting here.

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