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The European Free Trade Association states – Iceland, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Norway – and Ecuador have continued discussions towards a free trade agreement, with a second round of negotiations held over five days until March 3.
Expert working groups convened to discuss draft texts in areas such as trade in goods, rules of origin, trade facilitation, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, trade remedies, trade in services, competition, trade and sustainable development, legal and institutional issues, and dispute settlement.
According to a statement after the talks, the negotiations were constructive and paved the way for progress in all areas. It said experts on intellectual property rights, government procurement, and investment will meet during intersessional meetings before the next round, which is planned to take place in July 2017.
Merchandise trade between the EFTA states and Ecuador reached USD275m in 2016. EFTA's top exports to Ecuador include pharmaceutical products, chemicals, machinery, and mechanical appliances. EFTA imports mainly consist of fruits, cocoa, cut flowers, and precious metals. Pharmaceuticals represent over 60 percent of EFTA's exports to Ecuador while fruits represent 40 percent of Ecuador's exports to EFTA. The stock of foreign direct investment in Ecuador's economy originating from the EFTA states reached USD678m in 2012.
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