The EFTA States signed a Free Trade Agreement with Albania in Geneva, Switzerland, on 17 December 2009. The Agreement entered into force on 1 November 2010 for Albania, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, 1 August 2011 for Norway and 1 October 2011 for Iceland.
The main focus of the Agreement is the liberalisation of trade in goods. All customs duties on industrial products, including fish and other marine products, are abolished from the entry into force of the Agreement, Additional agricultural agreements between the individual EFTA States and Albania form an integral part of the instruments establishing the free trade area.
The Agreement consists of 43 Articles, five Annexes and three Protocols. The Agreement covers the following main subjects:
- Trade in Goods
- Rules of Origin
- Trade Facilitation
- Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS)
- Trade Remedies
- Trade in Services
- Protection of Intellectual Property (IPR)
- Government Procurement
- Trade and Sustainable Development
- Institutional Provisions
- Dispute Settlement
Trade in Goods
Industrial Goods and Fish and marine products
With the entry into force of the Agreement, all customs duties on industrial products, including fish and marine products (Annex II), originating in the Parties are abolished (Article 8).
The Agreement also provides for tariff concessions on processed agricultural products (Protocol A). Trade in basic agricultural products is covered by three bilateral agricultural agreements between the respective EFTA State and Albania. These agreements provide for substantial concessions on both sides, while taking into account the respective sensitivities of the Parties.
Rules of Origin
The rules of origin and the methods of administrative co-operation set out in Protocol B, and its seven Appendices, are based on the Pan-EuroMediterranean model text. This will allow for cumulation of materials originating in the EFTA States, Albania and the other “Pan-Euro-Med” member countries once the respective agreements are in place between those countries and Albania.
The Agreement contains detailed provisions on trade facilitation (Annex III).
Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS)
Sanitary and phytosanitary measures and technical regulations are dealt with in Chapter 2 and refer to WTO law.
The Agreement includes provisions on state trading enterprises, subsidies, anti-dumping, and anticompetitive practices affecting the trade relations between the Parties as well as disciplines on safeguard measures.
Trade in Services
Regarding services, the Agreement refers to the GATS, containing in particular a “most favoured nation” provision and a review clause in accordance with GATS (Article 25).
The provision on investment (Article 24) mainly refers to investment promotion and contains a review clause (5 years). The Agreement also ensures the free transfer of payments for current transactions and capital movements, subject to a provision on balance of payment difficulties, which is based on the respective WTO provisions (Chapter 5).
Protection of Intellectual Property (IPR)
The provisions on protection of intellectual property rights (Article 23 and Annex V) cover inter alia, patents, trademarks, copyrights and geographical indications. They are based on the WTO Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and provide for a high level of protection, taking into account the principles of most favored nation treatment and of national treatment.
The Agreement also includes a provision on public procurement aiming in particular at ensuring transparency and avoiding discrimination (Article 26).
The Agreement contains a provision on rules of competition concerning undertakings and defines decisions and practices which are incompatible with the proper functioning of the Agreement, which apply to the activities of public undertakings and undertakings for which the Parties grand special or exclusive rights. The Joint Committee is tasked with the examination of a case, should there be one.
Trade and Sustainable Development
The Parties recognise that economic development, social development and environmental protection are interdependent. In Chapter 6, they reaffirm their commitment to multilateral environmental and labour agreements and principles and undertake to uphold their levels of protection. Arbitration procedures do not apply to this Chapter.
In Chapter 6, the Agreement establishes a Joint Committee, which supervises and administers the Agreement and oversees its further development. The Joint Committee may take decisions in cases provided for by the Agreement and make recommendations in other matters.
Chapter 7 contains rules and procedures for the settlement of disputes arising under the Agreement between one or more of the EFTA States and Albania.
Text of the Agreement
|Table of Contents|
|EFTA-Albania Free Trade Agreement|
signed on 18 September 2015 (eif 1 June 2017)
|Trade in Goods||Annex I||Excluded Products|
|Annex II||Fish and Other Marine Products|
|Annex III||Trade Facilitation|
|Annex IV||Mandate for the Sub-Committee|
|Protocol A||Processed Agricultural Products|
|Protocol B||Concept of "Originating Products" and Methods of Administrative Co-operation||Appendix A||Alternative Applicable Rules of Origin|
|IPR||Annex V||Protection of Intellectual Property|
|Decision||Subject||Adopted||Entry into force|
|No. 1/2013||Rules of Procedure (amended according to the Protocol amending the Free Trade Agreement between the Republic of Albania and the EFTA States signed on 18 September 2015 and entered into force on 1 June 2017))||05.02.2013||05.02.2015|
|No. 1/2021||Amending Protocol B (Concept of "originating products" and methods of administrative cooperation)||24.06.2021||01.01.2022|
For EFTA-Albania trade statistics, see EFTA Trade Statistics Tool