EFTA free trade agreement negotiations
The Ministers took stock of EFTA's ongoing work on free trade agreements. Negotiations are currently taking place with Bosnia Herzegovina, the Central American States of Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama, India, Indonesia, RuBeKa (the customs union consisting of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan) and Viet Nam. The Minsters discussed the progress of these negotiations, giving the highest priority to the negotiations with India and RuBeKa. The Ministers noted with appreciation, the considerable progress made in negotiations with The Central-American States and Viet Nam.
The launch of negotiations with Malaysia, which took place earlier this week, was very well received by the Ministers, who agreed that EFTA should start negotiations as soon as possible.
The Ministers expressed their readiness to re-engage with Thailand at the earliest possibility, and they agreed to further explore ways to deepen trade relations with countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Ministers called for a joint assessment of recent developments with respect to the negotiations with Algeria.
Furthermore, Ministers also discussed issues related to the unresolved mackerel negotiations.
In a separate meeting, Ministers held discussion with the EFTA Parliamentary Committee on recent developments and priorities in EFTA’s trade relations.
Closer collaboration with Pakistan
The Ministers signed a Joint Declaration of Cooperation with Pakistan. The Declaration will be an important basis in order to strengthen economic cooperation and bilateral trade relations.
Senior EFTA appointments
The Ministers also took note of the appointments of Mr Helge Skaara as Deputy Secretary General and Assistant Secretary General, Mr Georges Baur in Brussels.