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EFTA States Sign New Free Trade Deals

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

04 July 2018

The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) states – Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland, and Norway – signed a free trade agreement with Ecuador on June 25, 2018, and upgraded the bloc's existing free trade deal with Turkey.

The comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA) with Ecuador was signed after just two years of negotiations.

Guolaugur Por Poroarson, Iceland's Foreign Minister, said: "The fact that we have been able to conclude a very comprehensive Agreement in only five rounds is both a testimony to the political investment on both sides as well as the professionalism and dedication of our negotiators. This agreement covers all areas of a modern free trade agreement and the EFTA states are confident that it will be a solid basis for increased trade and investment between the parties. We are convinced that this agreement will create additional business opportunities for economic operators both in Ecuador and in the EFTA states."

The Agreement will enter into force after completion of the necessary internal procedures for ratification by the Parties.

EFTA's top exports to Ecuador include pharmaceutical products (worth about 60 percent of the total), chemicals, machinery, and mechanical appliances. EFTA's imports from Ecuador are mainly fruits (worth 40 percent), cocoa, cut flowers, and precious metals.

Also on June 25, the existing EFTA-Turkey FTA, which entered into force on April 1, 1992, was upgraded and expanded, EFTA announced. EFTA's main exports to Turkey are precious metals, pharmaceutical products, machinery and mineral fuel. Merchandise imports from Turkey consist mainly of vehicles, ships and apparel.

With the new agreement with Ecuador, the EFTA states have 28 concluded free trade agreements (FTAs) with a total of 39 countries worldwide.

TAGS: tax | investment | business | Iceland | law | intellectual property | Ecuador | agreements | trade | Turkey | Europe

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