Yesterday, a new Round of Negotiations between MERCOSUR and EFTA (European Free Trade Association, the trade bloc comprised of Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) concluded at the Palacio San Martín. This is the fifth round of negotiations between both parties since the official launch of negotiations for a comprehensive free trade agreement.
At this round of negotiations, significant progress was made and the chapters on such areas as Trade Facilitation, Trade in Goods, Services, Sustainable Development, Trade Remedies and Rules of Origin, among other matters, are nearly concluded. Furthermore, agreement was reached on specific Rules of Origin for various customs nomenclature chapters and a commitment was made to improve the mutual government procurement offers.
The technical groups defined the steps to be taken in order to make progress during the intersessional period preceding the next round of negotiations scheduled for the last week of November at the EFTA headquarters in Geneva. On 16-19 October the working groups on institutional, legal and horizontal issues will also meet in Buenos Aires.
MERCOSUR and EFTA agreed on the modalities for the exchange of improved goods offers two weeks before the next round of negotiations. Improved offers will guarantee preferential access to the EFTA market for MERCOSUR priority products. Both parties reaffirmed their willingness to conclude negotiations by 2019, with a view to expediting the agreement.
Over the last three years (2015 to 2017), average annual trade between MERCOSUR and EFTA exceeded USD 7 million, with a trade surplus for MERCOSUR.
Negotiations with EFTA are part of the foreign relations strategy pursued by MERCOSUR, which prioritizes countries or regional groups that are especially attractive in terms of the export offer of the bloc and/or are among the main global investors.
Press Release No. 414/18