Number Of Eu Free Trade Agreements

Since the early 1990s, the European Free Trade Association has established an extensive network of free trade contractual relationships around the world. The aim of EFTA policy in third countries is to safeguard the economic interests of its Member States, to support and strengthen the process of European and inter-regional integration, and to contribute to global efforts to liberalise trade and investment. The Trade Relations Division (TRD) is responsible for the research, negotiation and implementation of preferential trade agreements with third countries around the world (declarations of cooperation, free trade agreements). The EFTA Free Trade Agreement covers trade in industrial products (including fish) and agricultural products. These include provisions for the establishment of a joint committee, dispute resolution, rules of origin and trade, as well as competition and the protection of intellectual property rights. The EU insists that the UK must respect these rules precisely enough – so that British businesses have no advantage – but the UK government says it wants the freedom to move away. EFTA free trade agreements are notified to the World Trade Organization (WTO). They build on WTO rules and obligations to improve the cross-border economic trade framework and add value to reduce barriers to trade and legal security. EFTA states see free trade agreements as a complement and not as a substitute for the multilateral trading system. While a member of the EU, the UK was automatically part of some 40 trade agreements that the EU has concluded with more than 70 countries. In 2018, these activities accounted for about 11% of total trade in the UK.

While free trade agreements are aimed at boosting trade, too many cheap imports could threaten a country`s producers, which could affect employment. Trade agreements also aim to remove quotas – limiting the amount of goods that can be traded. The UK and THE EU are negotiating a trade deal that is expected to start on 1 January 2021, when the new UK-EU relationship will begin. This interactive map provides an overview of EFTA`s preferential trade relationships with partners around the world. Click on any country that displays in color for more information.