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Guatemala Joins EFTA-Central America Trade Deal

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

23 June 2015

Guatemala has become the first country to accede to the European Free Trade Association (EFTA)-Central American Free Trade Agreement (FTA), through a protocol signed on June 22, 2015.

Ministers from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Panama, and Guatemala have signed the Protocol of Accession. The FTA covers trade in goods and services, trade facilitation, rules of origin, competition, intellectual property, government procurement, and sustainable development. A Joint Committee oversees its functioning.

Negotiations between the ETFA and four central American states were launched in November 2011. An agreement between the EFTA and Costa Rica and Panama was reached in 2012. Negotiations with Guatemala were concluded in November 2014, but talks with Honduras have been placed on hold.

The original FTA entered into force in August 2014 for Costa Rica, Panama, Norway, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland, and in September 2014 for Iceland.

Guatemala's accession will become effective after the signatories complete their necessary domestic procedures.

Total merchandise trade between the EFTA states and Guatemala was valued at USD121m in 2014. EFTA exports to Guatemala were worth USD49m last year, with imports worth USD72m. In 2014, total merchandise trade between the EFTA states and the three central American countries (Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Panama) reached USD890m.

TAGS: free trade agreement (FTA) | Iceland | intellectual property | trade treaty | Liechtenstein | Norway | agreements | Costa Rica | Guatemala | Switzerland | trade | Honduras | Panama | services | Europe | Central America

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