Canada - European Free Trade Association (EFTA)

Additional Information

The free trade agreement (FTA) between Canada and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland entered into force on July 2, 2009 (News Release: New Trade Agreement Eliminates Barriers and Opens Doors to European Markets). Also entering into force at the same time as the FTA were three associated bilateral agreements on agriculture with Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, with the Canada-Switzerland bilateral agreement covering Liechtenstein.

The Canada-EFTA FTA is a “first-generation” agreement with an emphasis on tariff elimination. It does not include substantial new obligations in areas such as services, investment, and intellectual property but does establish a commitment to review the Agreement with a view to considering the scope for possible expansion of the FTA into these and other areas at a later date.

Canada and the EFTA States have held two meetings of the CEFTA Joint Committee, most recently in Ottawa on May 9, 2012, to discuss the implementation and operation of the Canada-EFTA FTA.  During this latest meeting, as required under the terms of the Agreement, the Parties explored the possible expansion of the FTA into additional areas.  The Parties exchanged views on their respective negotiating approaches, in particular regarding market access for goods, TBT and SPS, services and investment, government procurement, intellectual property and sustainable development.  There was mutual interest in possible modernization, however, given busy negotiating agendas for all Parties, both sides agreed to meet again in Autumn 2012 to take stock and discuss possible next steps.

Background

On June 7, 2007, Canada and the EFTA countries announced the conclusion of free trade agreement negotiations, and on January 26, 2008, the FTA and associated Bilateral Agricultural Agreements were signed on the margins of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland (News Release: ARCHIVED - New Free Trade Deal Caps Successful Year for Canada in Global Commerce).

The Government of Canada announced the launch of negotiations with the EFTA countries on October 9, 1998 following extensive consultations to gauge Canadians' interests and sensitivities. A free trade agreement with EFTA was supported by a broad cross-section of Canadian stakeholders.