All quotes delayed a minimum of 15 minutes. This includes, for example, provisions on the free movement of persons between all of the EFTA States. Prime Minister Theresa May is undecided about her country’s future role in Europe after Britons voted to leave the European Union in a June referendum. After the transition period has ended, the UK will be a third country in terms of the EEA Agreement. Since Switzerland is an EFTA Member State, but not a part of the EEA, what will be the future trade relationship between Switzerland and the United Kingdom? If the UK were to apply to join EFTA, how would the EFTA States respond? Solberg cited farming as one example of a possible conflict of interest. 56.3 of the EFTA Convention states that a new EFTA Member State “shall apply to become a party to the free trade agreements between the Member States on the one hand and third states, unions of states or international organisations on the other.” As a member of a customs union, a country acceding to EFTA could not comply with this obligation. We go ahead, join EFTA and the EEA. In addition to the EEA Grants, Norway has funded a parallel scheme since 2004 – the Norway Grants. Do EFTA States have access to the Single Market? The United Kingdom (UK) ceased to be a Contracting Party to the EEA Agreement after its withdrawal from the EU on 31 January 2020. Any State that becomes a member of EFTA has an obligation to apply to become a party to EFTA’s existing free trade agreements according to Article 56 of the EFTA Convention. Accordingly, the rights and obligations contained in the EEA Agreement continue to apply between the UK and the EEA EFTA States until 31 December 2020. Overall, Solberg’s comments were less skeptical about British membership than shortly after Britain’s vote, when she stressed that it would “change the balance of power in EFTA”. It would require new negotiation guidelines to be agreed by the EU27 and ratification by the UK, all the EFTA states, and all EU member states. Portugal also left EFTA for the European Community in 1986. First, the EEA EFTA States contribute towards reducing economic and social disparities in the EEA through the EEA Grants. That variable picture has parallels within the EU, where Germany has held out the prospect of granting Britain a special status in its post-Brexit relationship while France has pushed for a more hardline approach. The accession of a new Member State to our FTAs can only be negotiated with the consent of the other Party or Parties to the agreement. There are significant reasons why the UK is unlikely to join EFTA. The UK would require the consent of the other EFTA states to join. The worst case scenario is that we leave the EU as part of the UK, join EFTA as a holding position and then negotiate EU membership from there. Austria, Sweden, and Finland joined the EU in 1995 and thus ceased to be EFTA members. Once becoming an EFTA member, the UK will then have to negotiate an EEA accession treaty with the 31 entities which are members of the EEA: the EU, its 27 member States and the three EEA EFTA members. Anthony Speaight QC and a colleague have published a paper arguing that the UK could secure advantage by making an application to re-join EFTA. She said her Conservative Party was in “continuous dialogue” with their peers across the North Sea led by May, whose first weeks in office have been dominated by a debate over the terms and timing of Britain’s divorce from the EU. It follows from Article 129 of the Withdrawal Agreement that, during the transition period, the UK shall be bound by the obligations stemming from the international agreements concluded by the EU, including the EEA Agreement. Can the EFTA Member States also sign bilateral free trade agreements? The EFTA Council is the highest governing body of EFTA, where the four EFTA States – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland – meet at ambassadorial or ministerial level. The UK would withdraw from the EU and join the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). As the largest EFTA country (about 60% of EFTA GDP), EFTA membership offered little compensation to UK exporters for the loss of access to traditional markets now inside the EEC. Norway voted against joining the EU because of the impact it would have on its fishing industry, and Scotland is in quite a similar position. Alongside being members of EFTA, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein also have free movement of goods, services and people with the 28-nation EU. ARENDAL, Norway (Reuters) - Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said she saw some advantages if Britain joined the four-nation European Free Trade Association (EFTA) after quitting the EU, qualifying past doubts about British membership. Britain exported food and drink worth 18 billion pounds ($24 billion) in 2015 while Norway imposes high import barriers to protect farmers in a country that stretches into the Arctic. Article 126 of the Withdrawal Agreement between the EU and the UK provides for a transition period until 31 December 2020. Britain was a founding member of Efta in 1960, a free trade organisation that was an appendage to the European Economic Community, the forerunner of the … While membership of EFTA would grant Britain access to dozens of free trade agreements EFTA has already concluded with countries around the world it would not, … If the United Kingdom remains in a customs union with the EU, could it still join EFTA? The EFTA States consult among themselves regularly in the EFTA Council and at ministerial level, as well as at dedicated meetings of national coordinators at senior officials’ level. Switzerland set up several dialogues with the UK: (1) a so-called Continuity Dialogue which deals with horizontal issues and oversees progress in each area, and (2) Specific Dialogues in areas currently covered by the Swiss/EU agreements. It also provides for participation in EU programmes such as those for research and education. Sectors that stand to benefit include key industries like car manufacturing, science and technology, financial services, chemicals, and many more. The EFTA agreement requires accession to the four freedoms of persons, goods, services and capital. This is significant, given that total UK trade with the EEA EFTA states amounted to almost £30bn in 2017. Only EU or EFTA members can currently become members of the EEA, meaning if Britain wants to secure full access to the single … If EFTA were to receive a membership application from the UK – which could only join once it had withdrawn from the EU – and the EFTA states agreed to … This follows from the two-pillar structure and Article 126 of the EEA Agreement, which states that the EEA Agreement applies to the territory of … The EFTA Convention from January 1960 states that any country may join EFTA “provided that the EFTA Council decides to approve its accession”. Yes, the EFTA States are not obliged by the EFTA Convention to conclude preferential trade agreements as a group. This online visa waiver system is set to be an entry requirement for short-term visitors from visa-exempt countries like the UK. In a context of relatively poor domestic economic performance, this situation prompted the UK government to submit a first application to join the EEC in 1961. Migration –The EFTA Convention guarantees the free movement of people between the Member States. Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. They maintain the full right to enter into bilateral third-country arrangements. ). The United Kingdom was a member of the European Economic Area from 1 January 1994 to 31 December 2020, following the coming into force of the 1992 EEA Agreement. We have to set that out at the time because there are still some uncertainties, many uncertainties, around the Brexit process." The possibility of rejoining the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) after leaving the European Union might be something Britain ought to consider as Iceland’s Foreign Minister Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson suggested last year. This is based on common rules and equal conditions of competition and provides for the adequate means of enforcement at the judicial level. See here for a complete list of exchanges and delays. How will the United Kingdom’s departure from the EU impact EEA EFTA and UK citizens that are already residing or working in the EEA EFTA States or the United Kingdom? Moreover, to enter into force, they would involve a ratification … The United Kingdom and Denmark joined the EEC in 1973 and hence ceased to be EFTA members. The EEA Agreement does not cover EU common agriculture and fisheries policies, although it contains provisions on trade in agricultural and fish products. This agreement largely mirrors the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated with the EU. Although the UK government has to date simply refused, the ... Scotland might find it preferable to join EFTA, initially at least. “Some countries will probably think it’s fine to have a free trade deal with us (EFTA), but won’t necessarily think that it’s equally simple to have a free trade deal with Britain,” she said. In order to ensure equal conditions of competition throughout the EEA, the EEA Agreement mirrors the competition and state aid rules of the EU treaties. Since 1994, the EFTA Secretariat has assisted Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway in the management of the EEA Agreement. Whether the UK agrees a ‘Free Trade Agreement’ with the EU or not, there are many reasons why re-joining EFTA would benefit the UK (and EFTA! EFTA has about 30 free trade deals with nations including Canada, Chile, Morocco and Singapore. Liechtenstein joined the EFTA in 1991 (previously its interests had been represented by Switzerland). 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