The 58th Annual Report of the European Free Trade Association was published before the Easter break. The report contains an overview of the functions and activities of EFTA throughout 2018 in the areas of managing the EEA Agreement, EFTA’s worldwide network of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and the EFTA Convention.
In 2018, the EFTA States continued to expand their worldwide network of free trade agreements, with several milestones reached throughout the year. EFTA signed new agreements with Indonesia and Ecuador, updated its agreement with Turkey and revised bilateral agricultural agreements with Israel. Progress was also made towards an agreement with the Mercosur trading bloc in Latin America. EFTA currently has 29 free trade agreements with 40 partner countries and customs territories (not including the EU). Expanding this global network remains a top priority for the EFTA States.
Towards the end of 2018, EFTA also prepared for a series of events to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the EEA Agreement in 2019. The Agreement has significantly contributed to building a more competitive, predictable and prosperous Europe, with an extended homogenous single market in which goods, capital, services and persons move freely.
During the year, a new user-friendly web tool and video was developed, to explain how EU law becomes EEA law.
Throughout 2018, the EFTA Secretariat also assisted its Member States to preserve to the fullest their economic and trade relations with the UK, one of EFTA’s most important trading partners, once it leaves the EU. The UK’s withdrawal from the EU has been a challenging political and legal process, but the EFTA States are fully prepared to safeguard core interests in all scenarios.
The 2018 Annual Report describes these developments in more detail. Please note that as a green measure the report is only available in electronic PDF format.