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EFTA-Central America FTA Talks Near Completion

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

21 December 2012


The European Free Trade Association (EFTA), comprising Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, has reported that FTA negotiations with the group of four Central American nations, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama, are almost complete.

Following an intensive fifth round of negotiations ending on December 14, the EFTA reported that the negotiations with Costa Rica could soon be substantially concluded, while those with Panama came close to completion.

Although EFTA reported that significant progress had been made with negotiators from Guatemala and Honduras, work is needed to settle outstanding areas such as market access commitments for goods and trade in services.

Discussions are to continue in early 2013 with the multi-partite free trade agreement expected to be signed by mid-2013.

Free trade negotiations between the two parties commenced in November 2011. Two-way trade between the EFTA states and the four Central American states has grown markedly since 2010, from USD646m to just under USD1bn in 2011. EFTA's top exports to the Central American region include pharmaceutical products, clocks and watches, and precious stones. EFTA imports mainly fruits and nuts, precious stones, and spices, coffee and tea from Central America.

TAGS: tax | free trade agreement (FTA) | Iceland | export duty | law | tariffs | Liechtenstein | Norway | Costa Rica | Guatemala | Switzerland | import duty | trade | Honduras | Panama | services

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