The 8th Round of Negotiations between Mercosur and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) took place at the Foreign Ministry on May 6-10, 2019. Argentina's delegation was headed by the Undersecretary for MERCOSUR and International Economic Negotiations of Argentina, Victorio Carpintieri, while EFTA's delegation was headed by Jan Farberg, Director General of the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries.
The first round of negotiations with EFTA took place in Buenos Aires, in June 2017, and the speedy progress of negotiations between both regional blocs made it possible to hold seven more rounds in less than two years. The private sector was consulted during the first quarter of 2018, and market access offers by both parties have already been exchanged.
The meeting seeks effective, mutual and balanced access to each party's market of goods, services, investments and government procurement, in a way that satisfies the interests of both parties. Argentina and Mercosur hope that an agreement with EFTA will facilitate the region's exports to that market and foster investments from the member countries of the association.
Towards the end of the meeting, the parties agreed to exchange new offers at the beginning of June. Significant progress was made during the 8th round, and thus seven of the thirteen chapters that make up the negotiation have been concluded.
The four countries which are part of the EFTA free trade zone (Norway, Iceland, and the customs union made up of Switzerland and Liechtenstein) represent a market of approximately 14 million people. The GDP per capita level of the four nations is among the highest ones in the world, thus representing a consumer market with high purchasing power. Switzerland, Norway and Iceland are also full members of the OECD. Mercosur exports to EFTA countries amount to over USD 3 million.
The next Round is planned for June 2019, in Geneva, Switzerland.