by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels
04 July 2016
The member states of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) signed a free trade agreement (FTA) with Georgia during a meeting on June 27, 2016.
The FTA covers, among other things, trade in goods (industrial and agricultural goods, fish, and other marine products), rules of origin, trade facilitation, and trade in services.
The EFTA states – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland – and Georgia launched negotiations on the FTA in September 2015 and concluded them in February 2016, following three rounds.
Merchandise trade between the EFTA States and Georgia has increased at an average annual rate of 19 percent between 2005 and 2015. In 2015, total merchandise trade between the EFTA states and Georgia was valued at USD53.3m, with EFTA’s exports to Georgia amounting to USD49.4m, and exports from Georgia to the EFTA states reaching USD3.9m.
At the same meeting on June 27 the EFTA states launched negotiations on an FTA with Ecuador. The two sides signed a Joint Declaration on Cooperation in June last year.
EFTA’s global network of preferential trade agreements outside the European Union now consists of 27 agreements with 38 partners.
At the meeting the EFTA ministers also discussed the outcome of the United Kingdom’s referendum on the European Union and its possible implications. They underlined the importance of maintaining close trade relations with the United Kingdom.