EFTA ministers to meet in Montreux on 24 and 25 June

Bern, 22.06.2004 - The next ministerial meeting of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) will take place in Montreux on 24 and 25 June 2004. President Joseph Deiss will receive the ministers from the other EFTA countries - Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. During the meeting, an exchange of views is also planned with European Commissioner Franz Fischler. In addition, a free trade agreement with the Lebanese Republic will also be signed.

The agreement with Lebanon is the sixth free trade agreement that the EFTA countries have concluded with a participant country of the Barcelona process. As part of the EU’s Barcelona process efforts are underway to establish a large Euro-Mediterranean free trade area by 2010. With the EFTA agreements that already exist with Turkey, Israel, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan, the latest with Lebanon would open up the possibility of participating in the future Euro-Mediterranean free trade area.

As is the case in EFTA’s other Mediterranean agreements, that with Lebanon covers trade in industrial products, processed agricultural products and fish. The Lebanese delegation travelling to Montreux, will be led by trade and industry minister Marwan Hamade. The free trade agreement also contains provisions on the protection of intellectual property rights as well as development clauses for trade in services, investment and public procurement.

The network of now thirteen EFTA free trade agreements with partners in south-eastern Europe, the Mediterranean and overseas ensures Swiss economic actors access conditions to important markets outside the EU that are equal to those of their most important competitors. The EFTA free trade agreements – alongside relations with the EU and membership of the WTO – represent one of the three pillars of Switzerland’s foreign trade policy which is oriented towards opening markets and reinforcing legal certainty.

In addition to the signing of the free trade agreement with Lebanon, the EFTA ministers will also discuss further questions concerning EFTA third country policy and the implementation of the EFTA Convention revised in 2002. Furthermore the EFTA ministers will meet with Franz Fischler, member of the European Commission, to exchange views on matters relating to the WTO and EU trade policy following enlargement.

European Commissioner Franz Fischler will be available for interviews at 11.15. Representatives from the media are invited to the signing of the free trade agreement with Lebanon on 24 June 2004, 17.15 – 17.45 (Hotel Montreux Palace, Montreux, Saal Léman A). President Joseph Deiss and the ministers from Lebanon, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein will be available afterwards for interviews.

Evelyn Kobelt,
Communications Service DEA,
tel. 031 322 20 59

Minister Christian Etter,
Integration Office DFA/DEA,
Head, EFTA Division,
tel. 031 324 08 62


State Secretariat for Economic Affairs

Last modification 14.05.2024

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