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A free trade agreement (FTA) between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) states – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland – and Costa Rica and Panama will enter into force shortly, after ratification procedures were completed by all parties.
The FTA – covering trade in goods, trade in services, investment, competition, the protection of intellectual property, sustainable development, and government procurement – was signed in June 2013. Its entry into force will occur in three stages: on August 19, 2014, in Norway; on August 29, 2014, in Liechtenstein and Switzerland; and on September 5, 2014, in Iceland.
Over the last four years, two-way merchandise trade between EFTA and Costa Rica increased by more than 80 percent, reaching a value of USD265m in 2013. Between EFTA and Panama, two-way merchandise trade reached a value of USD546m in 2013, representing an increase of 40 percent since 2009.
Other members of the Central American Economic Integration System (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Belize, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua) are welcome to join the pact at a future date.
Excluding their agreements with the European Union, EFTA states now have 25 FTAs with a total of 35 partner countries worldwide.
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