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EFTA-Gulf States FTA Enters In Force

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

04 July 2014


Five years after its signing, the free trade agreement (FTA) between the EFTA States – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland – and the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, became operational on July 1, 2014.

Industrial and fish products are to benefit from duty-free access to the markets of all parties, with some transitional periods and exceptions applying on the GCC side. The deal also improves market access and legal certainty, and provides EFTA states with greater access to public tenders.

Since the signing of the FTA, two-way merchandise trade between the EFTA and the GCC countries has increased by an annual average of nine percent, reaching a value of USD9.2bn in 2013. Free trade negotiations between the EFTA and the GCC were launched in February 2006 and were concluded in April 2008. The deal was signed in Norway on June 22, 2009.

Apart from their agreements with the European Union, the EFTA States currently have 25 FTAs with a total of 35 partner countries worldwide.

TAGS: United Arab Emirates | free trade agreement (FTA) | Iceland | Kuwait | Saudi Arabia | Bahrain | Liechtenstein | Norway | Qatar | agreements | Switzerland | trade | Oman | Europe

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