On 27 June 2023, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) held its annual Ministerial meeting in Schaan, Liechtenstein. The meeting was chaired by Ms Dominique Hasler, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Education and Sport of Liechtenstein.
At the meeting, the EFTA States and the Republic of Moldova signed a free trade agreement (FTA). The FTA will further strengthen the economic ties and promote trade and investment between the two sides.
Minister Dominique Hasler made a statement on behalf of the Member States thanking all Parties for making such a timely conclusion of the free trade negotiations possible.
"I am personally convinced that the EFTA – Republic of Moldova FTA is not only a good, but an excellent Agreement, which marks a significant change in EFTA’s trade relations, as it includes for the first time a dedicated chapter on e-commerce and ambitious and robust provisions on trade and sustainable development," said Minister Dominique Hasler.
The EFTA-Moldova FTA was signed by Dominique Hasler, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Liechtenstein; Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iceland; Halvard Ingebrigtsen, State Secretary of Trade and Industry of Norway; and Guy Parmelin, Federal Councillor of Switzerland as well as by H.E Dumitru Alaiba, Minister of Economic Development and Digitalization, Republic of Moldova. The signing was witnessed by Moldova’s Prime Minister H.E. Dorin Recean.
The negotiations were launched in the spring of 2021 and five rounds of negotiations were held in total. As an ambitious and broad-based Free Trade Agreement, the EFTA-Moldova Agreement covers trade in goods and services, establishment, intellectual property rights, competition, government procurement as well as trade and sustainable development. For the first time, it also contains a dedicated chapter on e-commerce.
Trade between the EFTA States and the Republic of Moldova has been growing exponentially over the last ten years. In 2022, total trade reached USD 94 million, of which USD 34 million represented imports from Moldova and USD 60 million were exports from the EFTA States. Exports from EFTA States to Moldova had an average annual growth rate of more than 20 % over the last five years.
The main imports to the EFTA States were electrical machinery (25%), while most exports to the Republic of Moldova were vehicles parts and accessories thereof (34.5%) and pharmaceutical products (28%). Total trade between the parties continues to increase this year.
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