Switzerland takes over chair of the EFTA Council

Published 07-07-2014
The EFTA Council met in Geneva on 7 July 2014. Switzerland, holding the rotating Council chair for the second half of the year, presented its priorities. The Council also reviewed the results of the Ministerial meeting in the Westman Islands, Iceland held on 23 June 2014.

Regarding ongoing free trade negotiations, Switzerland's priorities for the second half of 2014 include re-engaging with the new Indian government with a view to concluding negotiations as soon as possible and pursing the resumption of negotiations with Indonesia after the establishment of a new government. The priorities further aim at finalising the negotiations with Guatemala and holding further negotiating rounds with Vietnam and with Malaysia. In relation to new partners, the priorities include preparing the ground for negotiations with the Philippines, examining possibilities for developing free trade relations with Pakistan and holding Joint committee meetings with the MERCOSUR States and with Georgia. Continued work on the maintenance and development of EFTA's existing free trade agreements and continuing the dialogues with the EU and the US in the context of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations were also identified as priorities.

In addition to discussing the priorities, the Council reviewed the Ministerial meeting on 23 June in Westman Islands, during which EFTA Ministers signed a Joint Declaration on Cooperation with the Philippines. Ministers also held discussions with the EFTA Parliamentary and Consultative Committees on recent developments in EFTA's third-country relations, the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA) and the relationship between the EU and Switzerland.

The next Council meeting will take place on 2 October 2014.

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