Together, these nations cover a combined area ofsquare miles and have a population size of approximately The official language of the EFTA is English, which is used in meetings and governing documents, although a total of 7 official languages are spoken by the member nations.
The ETFA works to promote trade and make trade easier among its member states. The EFTA Council serves as its governing body, and its delegation leaders convene 8 times a year and its ministers meet twice a year.
During these meetings, administrators decide upon amendments to current trade regulations and work to develop new trade policies. Each member state has one vote, and changes or regulations are made on a majority basis. Throughout its history, however, most decisions made by the EFTA have been with total consensus.
Its staff is divided among Luxembourg, Brussels, and Geneva. In addition to administering the trade region's imports and exports, the EFTA also allows member states to enter into trade agreements and arrangements with nations outside of the trade area. Its establishment was in response to the exclusion of its founding members from the European Economic Community, which later developed into the present-day European Union. One of the first benefits established by the EFTA was the removal of customs or taxes on industrial goods.
This removal was not immediate, but rather took place over a specified timeline. The EFTA, for example, allowed its member nations to negotiate trade agreements with non-member countries independently.
Each member, therefore, held varying customs duty agreements with other nations. Amber is a freelance writer, English as a foreign language teacher, and Spanish-English translator. She lives with her husband and 3 cats. All rights reserved. A map of the European Free Trade Association's member nations.
What is the European Free Trade Association? Amber Pariona Writer. This page was last updated on March 1, By Amber Pariona.
Your Chicago Citation Copy to Clipboard. Your Harvard Citation Remember to italicize the title of this article in your Harvard citation. Copy to Clipboard. Load comments.Since the beginning of the s, EFTA has actively pursued trade relations with third countries in and beyond Europe.
Read more about EFTA through the years. Skip to main content. It was set up in by its then seven Member States for the promotion of free trade and economic integration between its members. The main tasks of the Association are threefold. The European Free Trade Association EFTA is an intergovernmental organisation set up for the promotion of free trade and economic integration to the benefit of its four Member States — Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland — and the benefit of their trading partners around the globe.
The four EFTA States are all open, competitive economies committed to the progressive liberalization of trade in the multinational arena as well as in free trade agreements. The four EFTA States are open, developed economies with trade figures that are substantially higher than might be expected from a total of less than 14 million people. EFTA is the ninth largest trader in the world in merchandise trade and the fifth largest in trade in services. EFTA is the third most important trading partner in goods for the EU and the second most important when it comes to services.
This approach aims to increase awareness of budgetary spending at all levels. Quick links. Staff Directory.
EFTA Mission. Popular pages. Relations with the EU. Info and registration.European Free Trade Association EFTAgroup of four countries— IcelandLiechtensteinNorwayand Switzerland —organized to remove barriers to trade in industrial goods among themselves, but with each nation maintaining its own commercial policy toward countries outside the group.
Headquarters are in GenevaSwitzerland. Finland became an associate member in and a full member in ; Iceland was admitted to full membership in ; and Liechtenstein formerly associated through a customs union with Switzerland became a full member in Portugal joined the EEC in Austria, Finland, and Sweden became members of the European Union in The original convention committed the members to a schedule of tariff reductions and quota liberalizations for industrial goods but also included provisions for escape if the burden imposed on domestic economies proved too great.
Provisions also were made for bilateral agreements to liberalize trade in agricultural products. Byimport duties on most industrial goods had been abolished.
At that time Switzerland which did not ratify the agreement and Liechtenstein bound by its union with Switzerland did not join the EEA, but the following year Liechtenstein, after a series of negotiations with Switzerland, became a full member. A minimal administrative structure was set up by the original convention; meetings at the ministerial level usually occur twice yearly, and meetings at the official level take place every other week.
Decisions are implemented by the individual governments themselves; EFTA holds no supranational powers. European Free Trade Association. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. See Article History. Read More on This Topic. The efforts that led to the creation of the EU were paralleled by another attempt to foster trade in the region. At the same time that the…. Get exclusive access to content from our First Edition with your subscription. Subscribe today. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:.
At the same time that the EEC was being organized in the s, Great Britain sought to organize a free-trade…. In addition, Scandinavian collaboration was intensified by the Nordic Council, which was formally inaugurated in History at your fingertips.EFTA was historically one of the two dominant western European trade blocsbut is now much smaller and closely associated with its historical competitor, the European Union.
It was established on 3 May to serve as an alternative trade bloc for those European states that were unable or unwilling to join the then European Economic Community EECwhich subsequently became the European Union.
Sinceonly two founding members remain, namely Norway and Switzerland. The initial Stockholm Convention was superseded by the Vaduz Convention, which aimed to provide a successful framework for continuing the expansion and liberalization of tradeboth among the organization's member states and with the rest of the world. Whilst the EFTA is not a customs union and member states have full rights to enter into bilateral third-country trade arrangements, it does have a coordinated trade policy.
Switzerland has a set of bilateral agreements with the EU instead. The main difference between the early EEC and the EFTA was that the latter did not operate common external customs tariffs unlike the former: each EFTA member was free to establish its individual customs duties against, or its individual free trade agreements with, non-EFTA countries. Finland became an associate member in and a full member inand Iceland joined in Iceland applied for EU membership in due to the — Icelandic financial crisisbut has since dropped its bid.
In Novemberafter the Council of the European Union had called for an evaluation of the EU's relations with Monaco, Andorra and San Marinowhich they described as "fragmented",  the European Commission published a report outlining the options for their further integration into the EU.
The report examined four alternatives to the current situation:. However, the Commission argued that the sectoral approach did not address the major issues and was still needlessly complicated, while EU membership was dismissed in the near future because "the EU institutions are currently not adapted to the accession of such small-sized countries". In response, the Council requested that negotiations with the three microstates on further integration continue, and that a report be prepared by the end of detailing the implications of the two viable alternatives and recommendations on how to proceed.
However, he stated that Norway was open to the possibility of EFTA membership for the microstates if they decide to submit an application, and that the country had not made a final decision on the matter. The Norwegian electorate had rejected treaties of accession to the EU in two referendums.
At the time of the first referendum intheir neighbour, Denmark joined. Since the second referendum intwo other Nordic neighboursSweden and Finland, have joined the EU. The last two governments of Norway have not advanced the question, as they have both been coalition governments consisting of proponents and opponents of EU membership. Since Switzerland rejected the EEA membership in a referendum inmore referendums on EU membership have been initiated, the last time being in These were all rejected.
Switzerland has been in a customs union with fellow EFTA member state and neighbour Liechtenstein since Mark Milley told reporters Tuesday. Downing Street spokesperson said the British prime minister will not immediately return to work and will recover at his country residence, Chequers.
The US president hinted that he intends to announce a new approach to the global health body next week. Released from his self-imposed neutrality, the former president will soon make the case for Biden that Biden has had trouble making himself.
As the prime minister announces the country has reached the peak of coronavirus infections, the political gloves are coming off. Will his ideas outlive his candidacy? A lot will depend on how he and his supporters handle the next few months. The pandemic has shut down counterterrorism operations and the Islamic State is relishing the extra breathing room in Iraq. Unchecked, the caliphate could reemerge. The coronavirus pandemic should have been a moment for global action. Instead, the UN is riven with dissension and self-doubt, and countries are going their own way.
But majority also says Berlin should do everything it can to help Rome and Madrid tackle economic fallout. The huge number of seriously ill people is forcing governments to build new temporary hospitals — something that can be tracked with satellites. Evangelical leaders have long wanted Trump to press China hard on Christian persecution inside the country. Now, their focus is on its handling of a deadly virus. Tracing the remarkable hydroxychloroquine domino effect that could happen only in this moment, with this administration.
Criminal organizations are poised to capitalize on weaknesses in an economy ravaged by the coronavirus. Britain's exit from the European Union looks increasingly likely to involve a transitional period on the fringes of the bloc while it maintains some of the advantages it currently enjoys and gives it more time to negotiate the details of a future trading relationship.
Some soft Brexiteers even hope the U. The most likely approach is for it to rejoin the European Economic Area from outside the EU, putting it in a similar position to Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland. The agreement creating the EEA entered into force on January 1, and brings together the EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway in a single market, referred to as the "Internal Market.
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Norway may block UK return to European Free Trade Association
The two traditional rivals will need support if they are to form a government. President under fire for lack of clarity on how he intends to ease restrictions. Ramping up surveillance technology to manage epidemic may come at a high price. States on both coasts on Monday announced regional plans for reopening on their own timelines. The coronavirus pandemic has led to thousands of patients dying alone.
But the law suggests the US president has less power than he thinks.Norway could block any UK attempt to rejoin the European Free Trade Association, the small club of nations that has access to the European single market without being part of the EU.
Senior Norwegian government members are to hold talks with David Davis, the Brexit minister, in the next few weeks. Some Brexit supporters have suggested that Efta would be one way of retaining access to the single market while honouring the referendum mandate to leave the EU.
She also confirmed that the UK could only join if there were unanimous agreement, thereby providing Norway with a veto. EEA membership requires the four EU freedoms: free movement of persons, services, goods and capital. Norway, in need of extra labour, does not oppose free movement, though the issue of asylum seekers and refugees is controversial.
One concern is that Norway, through Efta, has signed trade agreements with 38 countries, including Mexico, Canada, Colombia, Morocco, Kuwait and Qatar.
If the UK joined, those trade agreements might have to be renegotiated and future trade deals would become more complex. The largely pro-EU political class in Norway argue that the high price for access to the single market is a loss of sovereignty, since the country is bound by EU decisions without having a vote on how they are taken.
Britain was a founding member of Efta ina free trade organisation that was an appendage to the European Economic Community, the forerunner of the EU.
The European Free Trade Association
InBritain joined the EEC. She has stressed the need to retain good cooperative bilateral relations with the UK. Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, told his party at the weekend that it needs to accept the vote to leave the EU, but has suggested the possibility of Norway-style access to the single market. A source joked that the country might lose its superpower status in Efta, were this to occur. The combined population of current Efta nations is 14 million, compared with the UK population of 65 million.
He said he was amazed that his government did not want to have an open debate about a new relationship with the EU. Polls in Norway have suggested that voters are divided over whether Brexit will be good for the country or whether it will signal the beginning of the end for the EU.
This has been corrected to say 65 million. Facebook Twitter Pinterest. Topics Norway. Europe Brexit European Union Foreign policy news. Reuse this content. Most popular.EFTA began with two goals: to establish free trade among members and to seek a broader economic union with the rest of Western Europe. The first was accomplished inwhen most of the intra-EFTA tariffs were abolished.
Iceland joined inFinland inand Liechtenstein in This group was known through the s as the "outer seven" as opposed to the "inner six" members of the European Economic Community European Economic Community EECorganization established by a treaty signed in by Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany now Germany ; it was known informally as the Common Market.
Click the link for more information. It was organized largely on the initiative of Great Britain in an attempt to solve economic problems posed by the development of the EEC and Britain's exclusion from it. Mentioned in? References in periodicals archive?
The statistics were based on data gathered before the European Union's recent expansion from 15 to 25 countries and from the European Free Trade Association Efta countries; Switzerland, Iceland, Liechrenstein and Norway that are not EU members. Top earning Swiss have less purchasing power. It is currently negotiating with several other countries including Canada and India for similar pacts.
What is the EEA and EFTA?
He cites the government of Norway's invocation of the principle to ban Kellogg's Corn Flakes on the grounds that the vitamins added to the cereal might constitute a health hazard when eaten in unforeseen amounts the decision was later overturned by a court of the European Free Trade Association. Ethics in environmental health: a mini-monograph. Iceland given two months to comply with 3G licence obligations.
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Iceland challenged over taxes on flights. Asgrimsson also proposed a free trade accord between Japan and the European Free Trade Association and Tanaka said she will relay his proposal to concerned parties. Understanding ISO Encyclopedia browser? Full browser?