On 24 August 2019, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) announced that delegations from Member States of the European Free Trade Association (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) and of Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) convened in Buenos Aires on 20 to 23 August to continue their talks on a broad-based free trade agreement. This tenth round allowed the Parties to conclude the negotiations in substance in all areas. Note by the EFTA Secretariat states:
As a comprehensive and broad-based Free Trade Agreement, the EFTA-Mercosur Agreement covers trade in goods, trade in services, investment, intellectual property rights, government procurement, competition, trade and sustainable development, legal and horizontal issues including dispute settlement.
Mercosur is an important trading partner for EFTA and will allow EFTA companies to benefit from privileged access to a market of over 260 million consumers. Current EFTA bilateral trade in goods with Mercosur totalled €5,8 billion in 2018, with EFTA exports worth €3,7 billion and Mercosur imports for €2,1 billion. Thus, the new Free Trade Agreement will allow EFTA exporters to gain from progressive tariff cuts and ensure a level playing field with its main competitors in this important market.
Negotiations towards the comprehensive Free Trade Agreement were preceded by a Joint Declaration on Cooperation, signed in December 2000, under which an exploratory dialogue with a view to possible future trade negotiations was initiated in March 2015 and concluded in January 2017. This was followed by the launch of negotiations with a first round in June 2017 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Since then, 9 rounds of negotiations were held.
For details of the Agreement, please go to https://www.efta.int/sites/default/files/documents/legal-texts/free-trade-relations/mercosur/2019-08-24-EFTA-Mercosur-Chapter-Description-of-FTA.pdf.