On 28 June 2012 the Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry, Trond Giske, attended the EFTA ministerial meeting in Gstaad, Switzerland. During the meeting, the four EFTA countries signed a joint declaration on cooperation with Georgia. By signing the declaration, both sides agree to enhance their economic relationship and pursue closer collaboration in many fields.
Ministers expressed their satisfaction with the start of a negotiating process with Vietnam. In the context of the official launch of these negotiations foreseen in July 2012, the EFTA States will recognize Vietnam's market economy status.
EFTA is currently in the process of negotiating free trade agreements with India, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Indonesia, Central-America, Indonesia, Vietnam and Members of the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. The ministers also agreed to further explore the possibility of going into FTA-talks with Malaysia and Philippines, and to seek closer collaboration with Pakistan. In addition, they agreed to continue exploring further cooperation with the MERCOSUR States (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) and developing closer trade relations with potential partners in the Sub-Saharan African region.
In the meeting, ministers also thanked Secretary-General Kåre Bryn for his contribution to EFTA over the last six years. Mr Bryn’s successor will be Mr Kristinn F. Árnason of Iceland.
Minister Trond Giske was accompanied by representatives from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Permanent Delegation of Norway in Geneva and the Norwegian Embassy in Bern.
Read more about the Ministerial Meeting on EFTAs webpage.