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Efta Eu Free Trade Agreement

In addition to the bilateral technical cooperation of the Member States, EFTA offers technical cooperation to help our partner countries harmonize their legislative framework and implement the rules in place to facilitate trade. This assistance is provided under the EEA agreement and existing free trade agreements. In some cases, EFTA also offers potential free trade partners. The European Free Trade Association (EFTA), a group of four countries – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland – has organized itself to remove barriers to trade in industrial products between them, with each nation maintaining its own trade policy vis-à-vis countries outside the group. The head office is Geneva, Switzerland. In EFTA countries, openness to trade and access to international markets are the basis of economic growth and general well-being. EFTA states actively apply and promote high standards of sustainable development and inclusion in their trade and external policies. In adopting standard rules on trade and sustainable development in 2010, EFTA ministers recognized the need to strengthen policy coherence at national and international levels in order to harness the potential of a positive contribution of international trade to promote sustainable development. The Member States of the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC, 1948) originally proposed an EEO-wide free trade area, which could belong to countries that do not wish to join the European Economic Community (EEC, now part of the European Union) and in which the EEC would play a role of unity.

When negotiations failed in November 1958, the “external group”, then composed of Austria, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom (later known as the Seven Outside), decided to unite within EFTA to strengthen its negotiating power in the creation of the largest free trade area. EFTA is based on the Stockholm Convention, signed by the Seven Nations in November 1959 and entered into force in May 1960.