The joint committee is made up of representatives of EFTA member states and the other party to the agreement and usually meets every two years or as required. All issues relating to the FTA can be discussed at these meetings, such as amending provisions in various areas mentioned above or any difficulties encountered in implementing them. A joint committee can set up sub-committees to facilitate its work. The Foreign Economic Policy Report communicates the formal and informal resolutions passed by the various joint committees.
FAQs on the joint committees
The FTAs give the joint committees the authority to oversee the implementation of the respective agreement, to examine the possibility of further removing barriers to trade and other restrictive measures and to follow the further development of the agreement. The joint committees may establish sub-committees and working groups and review their work. In addition, disputes concerning the interpretation or application of the Agreement are first discussed in consultations within the joint committees. Finally, the joint committees also decide on amendments to the annexes and appendices. Any decision taken by a joint committee must be examined independently of the provisions of the agreement in accordance with Swiss law in order to determine the national competence to conclude the agreement. In the case of decisions of limited scope, the Federal Council is responsible. In the case of more far-reaching consequences, the Federal Assembly must approve the decision of a joint committee.
After the meeting of the joint committee, a report on the discussions and results as well as on any decisions taken by the committee is published on the EFTA website. In addition, the key findings are addressed in the Federal Council’s foreign trade report.
Joint committee meetings are attended by representatives delegated by the parties for this purpose. In Switzerland, this is decided based on the guidelines for sending delegations to international conferences issued on 7 December 2012. Some delegates sent by the parties will usually be experts in the relevant issues on the meeting agenda.
Last modification 07.09.2022