The 9th Round of Negotiations between MERCOSUR and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) was held in Geneva, Switzerland on 11-14 June 2019. Victorio Carpintieri, Undersecretary for MERCOSUR and International Economic Negotiations of Argentina, headed the MERCOSUR delegation (Argentina coordinates the position of the bloc in this negotiation), and Jan Farberg, Director General of the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, headed EFTA's delegation.
At this advanced stage of the negotiations, with more than half of the chapters of the agreement already agreed upon, both parties focus their efforts on a detailed review of the global balance of the respective interests in disciplines and in real and reciprocal access to the market of goods, services, investments and government procurement, to encourage economic operators from both sides to profit from the agreement.
In this regard, as a continuation of the work on market access, the blocs highlighted the essential interests of their respective exports, and focused on the improvement of their market access offers in the area of goods. Furthermore, the technical negotiation of the Government Procurement chapter concluded, and the Annex on Telecommunications Services was agreed upon. Based on the progress made, MERCOSUR Member States share the conviction that the negotiations are reaching the final stage.
The four countries which are part of the EFTA free trade zone (Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein) are developed economies, very competitive at a global level, which our exports will enter with preference immediately upon the entry into force of the agreement. These countries are sources of foreign direct investment, and this free trade agreement will be an additional stimulus to attract capital from that area to Argentina and MERCOSUR.
Both Argentina and MERCOSUR have recorded a trade surplus with the EFTA bloc in recent years, and this agreement is expected to significantly increase and diversify the exchange of goods, services and investments with all members of the European Free Trade Association. Most of Argentina's exports and imports in its exchanges with the bloc are industrially manufactured goods.