The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) was established in 1960 by the Stockholm Convention. The original purpose of this intergovernmental organisation was to remove customs duties on industrial products in trade among its Member States.
The current members of EFTA are Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. In contrast to the European Union (EU), EFTA is not a customs union. Individual EFTA States are basically free to set their own customs tariffs and arrange other foreign trade measures vis-à-vis non-EFTA States (so-called third countries).
Three of the four EFTA States, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, are parties to the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA). An EFTA Surveillance Authority and an EEA Court were set up in order to implement those countries' obligations under the EEA Agreement.
EFTA States have been using EFTA as a platform for the joint negotiation of free trade agreements with third countries outside the EU. 22 such agreements are currently in force and a number of agreements are being negotiated.
Last modification 28.10.2020