The EFTA States signed a Free Trade Agreement with North Macedonia in Zürich, Switzerland, on 19 June 2000. The Agreement entered into force on 1 May 2002.
Among the objectives of the Agreement (Article 1) are to promote, through the expansion of reciprocal trade, the harmonious development of economic relations between the Parties. The Agreement includes provisions relating to the elimination of customs duties and other trade barriers as well as other trade-related disciplines such as rules of competition, protection of intellectual property, public procurement, state monopolies, state aid, and payments and transfers. Under the Agreement a Joint Committee is established which supervises the Agreement.
The Agreement consists of 41 Articles, six Annexes, four Protocols and a Record of Understanding. The Agreement covers the following main subjects:
- Trade in Goods
- Rules of Origin
- Protection of Intellectual Property (IPR)
- Public Procurement
- Institutional Provisions
- Dispute Settlement
Trade in Goods
The Agreement provides for effective market access for industrial goods in terms of tariffs and rules of origin, creating EFTA and EU parity for EFTA exports to North Macedonia. All industrial goods originating in the EFTA States now enjoy duty free access into North Macedonia (Article 4 and Annex III).
Fish and marine products
The Agreement covers trade in all fish and other marine products (Article 2 and Annex II). The EFTA States grant duty free access on imports of all North Macedonian fish products, while remaining North Macedonian tariffs on certain fish products have now been brought down to zero.
Trade in agricultural products is covered in three bilateral agricultural agreements negotiated between the respective EFTA State (Iceland, Norway and Switzerland/Liechtenstein) and North Macedonia.
They provide for substantial concessions on both sides, while taking into account the respective sensitivities. Each agreement contains specific rules of origin, generally based on the “wholly-obtained” criteria.
Rules of Origin
The rules of origin for industrial goods (Protocol B) concerning the definition of the concept of originating products and the methods for administrative cooperation, are based on the current pan-European model, maintaining the general structure and the substance of the European standard rules. The specific list rules (Annex II to Protocol B) are also based on the current pan- European model.
Protection of Intellectual Property (IPR)
The provisions on protection of intellectual property rights (Article 16 and Annex V) covers, inter alia, patents, trademarks and copyright and geographical indications.
The level of protection in certain areas goes beyond what is stipulated under the WTO Agreement on Trade Related aspects of Intellectual Property, taking into account the principles of most favoured nation treatment and of national treatment.
The Article on public procurement (Article 15) contains a review clause with a view to further liberalisation of the public procurement markets in the Partner countries.
Regarding competition (Article 17), the Agreement includes provisions on cooperation and exchange of information with the aim of ensuring and facilitating the enforcement of the Parties' respective competition laws.
A Joint Committee comprising the EFTA States and North Macedonia supervises the implementation of the Free Trade Agreement (Articles 29 and 30).
Consultations are the fundamental mechanism of dispute settlement between the FTA partners. The Agreement implies that the Parties are to endeavour to solve any differences between them on the interpretation and application of the agreement by direct consultations, and, if need be, through consultations in the Joint Committee. For cases where the consultations do not led to a satisfactory solution, the Parties may revert to arbitration (Article 31). Annex VI governs the constitution and functioning of the tribunal.
|Trade in Goods||Annex I||Products not covered by the Agreement|
|Annex II||Fish and Other Marine Products|
|Annex III||Customs Duties on Imports and Charges having equivalent effect||List A|
|Annex IV||Quantitative Restrictions on Imports or Exports and Measures having equivalent effect|
|Protocol A||Processed Agricultural Products||Table I||EFTA|
|Protocol B||Concerning the Definition of the Concept of "Originating Products" and Methods of Administrative Cooperation||Appendix A||Alternative Applicable Rules of Origin|
|Protocol C||State Monopolies|
|IPR||Annex V||Protection of Intellectual Property|
|Horizontal Issues||Annex VI||Constitution and functioning of the Arbitral Tribunal|
|Protocol D||Territorial Application|
|Other||Record of Understanding|
|Decision||Subject||Adopted||Entry into force|
|No. 1/2021||Amending Protocol B||23.07.2021||01.04.2022|
|No. 4/2008||Protocol B||28.11.2008||01.10.2010|
|No. 3/2008||Annex I||28.11.2008||01.06.2010|
|No. 2/2008||Protocol A||28.11.2008||01.06.2010|
|No. 1/2008||Annex II||28.11.2008||01.06.2010|
|No. 8/2003||Amendment to Protocol B||30.05.2003||30.05.2003|
|No. 7/2003||Amendment to Protocol A||30.05.2003||06.12.2003|
|No. 6/2003||Annex IV||30.05.2003||06.12.2003|
|No. 5/2003||Annex III||30.05.2003||06.12.2003|
|No. 4/2003||Annex II||30.05.2003||06.12.2003|
|No. 3/2003||Annex I||30.05.2003||06.12.2003|
|No. 2/2003||Establishment of a Sub-Committee on Customs and Origin Matters||30.05.2003||30.05.2003|
|No. 1/2003||Rules of Procedure of the Joint Committee||08.05.2003||08.05.2003|
For EFTA-North Macedonia trade statistics, see EFTA Trade Statistics Tool