EFTA-GCC Free Trade Agreement enters into force on 1 July 2014

Published 18-06-2014
Five years after its signing, the free trade agreement (FTA) between the EFTA States – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland – and the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, will become operational for all parties.

Covering activities such as trade in goods, trade in services and government procurement, the FTA will create new opportunities for economic operators on both sides.

Over the last five years, two-way merchandise trade between the EFTA and the GCC countries has increased by an annual average of 9%, reaching a value of USD 9.2 billion in 2013. As an export destination, the GCC represents EFTA’s fifth most important partner worldwide.

Industrial and fish products will benefit from duty-free access to the markets of all parties, with some transitional periods and exceptions applying on the GCC side. Bilateral agreements between the GCC and individual EFTA States provide for preferential trading conditions for agricultural products and form part of the instruments establishing the free trade area.

The commitments on services and government procurement build on the WTO framework, whereas intellectual property rights and investment will be the subjects of reviews within two years of the entry into force of the FTA. A joint committee will supervise its implementation.

Apart from their agreements with the European Union, the EFTA States currently have 25 FTAs with a total of 35 partner countries worldwide.

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