The EEA EFTA Trade Agreement: What It Is and Why It Matters
The European Economic Area (EEA) is a single market that allows for the free movement of goods, services, capital, and people between the European Union (EU) and three countries that are not part of the EU: Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein. This market is governed by the EEA Agreement, which was signed in 1992 and came into force in 1994.
As part of the EEA Agreement, the EU and the three EEA EFTA (European Free Trade Association) countries signed a separate agreement on free trade, known as the EEA EFTA Free Trade Agreement (FTA). This agreement covers trade in goods, services, and government procurement, and it aims to eliminate barriers to trade between the EU and EEA EFTA countries.
Under the FTA, EEA EFTA countries have access to the EU`s single market, which is the largest trading bloc in the world. This means that EEA EFTA companies can export their goods and services to the EU without facing tariffs or quotas. In return, the EU has access to the EEA EFTA countries` markets, which are relatively small but highly developed and prosperous.
The FTA also includes provisions on intellectual property, competition, and state aid, which help to ensure a level playing field for businesses in the EU and EEA EFTA countries. Moreover, the FTA establishes a Joint Committee, which supervises the implementation of the agreement and allows the EU and EEA EFTA countries to cooperate on issues related to trade and economic integration.
Overall, the EEA EFTA Trade Agreement is a crucial component of the EU`s external trade policy. It helps to deepen and broaden the EU`s economic ties with its neighbors in the north, and it contributes to the overall stability and prosperity of the European continent. As such, it is an important example of how trade agreements can promote economic growth, create jobs, and foster cooperation between countries.