The Federal Council announced that on 16 December 2018, Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, the economics minister of Liechtenstein and representatives of Iceland and Norway signed a free trade agreement with Indonesia’s minister for trade, Enggartiasto Lukita. Under the agreement, 98 percent of Swiss exports to Indonesia, the fourth most populous country in the world, will be exempt from customs duties over the coming years. Technical barriers to trade will be removed, market access for Swiss service providers made easier and bilateral economic relations in general improved. The EFTA states will collectively become Indonesia’s primary trading partner in Europe.
On 18 July 2018, the Official Journal published Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1013 of 17 July 2018 imposing provisional safeguard measures with regard to imports of certain steel products. On 26 March 2018, the Commission published a Notice of Initiation of a safeguard investigation concerning imports of 26 steel product categories (2018/C 111/10) in the Official Journal. The Commission decided to initiate the investigation in the light of sufficient evidence that imports of those products might cause or threaten to cause serious injury to the Union producers concerned. On 28 June, the investigation was extended to two additional product categories. There was also a high risk of further increase of imports resulting from trade diversion due to the measures against imports of steel adopted by the United States under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 (‘Section 232’). The 28 product categories (‘the product concerned’ or the ‘product categories concerned’) are all covered by the steel surveillance mechanism introduced by the Commission in May 2016. They are also subject to the US tariff measures under Section 232.
The WTO announced that Members expressed their concerns over possible measures by the United States regarding extra duties on the import of automobiles, including cars, SUVs, vans, light trucks and automotive parts, at the Council for Trade in Goods (CTG) held on 3 and 4 of July. Over 40 members — including the 28 European Union members — took the floor to warn of the “serious disruption” to world markets and the multilateral trading system that may arise as a result of these potential measures, particularly in light of the large proportion of global trade accounted for by these products. The announcement said:
On 25 June 2018, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) held its summer Ministerial meeting in Sauðárkrókur, Iceland, during which the Ministers of the four EFTA States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Ecuador, represented by H.E. Pablo Campana Sáenz, Minister of Foreign Trade of Ecuador. The signing, only two years after the launch of negotiations at the EFTA Ministerial Meeting in Bern in 2016, will strengthen economic relations between the EFTA States and Ecuador and give economic actors on both sides increased trade and investment opportunities.
On 26 April 2018, the Swiss Federal Department of Finance (FDF) Federal Customs Administration (FCA) issued Circular No. 071-16.1 PH R-30 regarding the entry into force on 1 June 2018 of the Free Trade Agreement between the EFTA States and the Philippines (FTA or Agreement).
On December 27, 2017, the Diario Oficial (Official Gazette) published the US Dollar and national money (Peso) thresholds for government procurements subject to free trade agreements. The Secretary of Public Function notified the amounts in Office No. UNCP/309/ TU/786/2017. The amounts are in effect from January 1, 2018 through June 30, 2018.
The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) announced that from 4 to 6 April 2017, delegations from the EFTA States and Turkey met in Ankara for the fourth round of negotiations on the modernisation and expansion of their existing free trade agreement (FTA). The announcement said:
The WTO announced that WTO members discussed five new or enhanced proposals to advance services negotiations at meetings of the Working Party on Domestic Regulation and the Services Council on 14-17 March 2017. Four of these proposals aim to ensure that domestic licensing procedures and technical standards do not constitute unnecessary barriers to trade while one proposal relates to the establishment of a trade facilitation agreement for services. The WTO provided the following summaries:
On 28 December 2016, the Norwegian Law Gazette website, Lovdata, posted Ministry of Finance Regulations on New and Modified Divisions of the Nomenclature as adopted by the Customs Directorate on 12 December 2016, pursuant to authority delegated by the Storting (Parliament). The Regulation has the 2017 Nomenclature attached. The Nomenclature includes the 2017 import tariffs, import and export controls and additional information. It is effective from 1 January 2017.
On 21 October 2016, the Ministry of Finance published Regulations amending the Regulations to the law on customs and movement of goods (Customs Regulations) [FOR-2016-10-20-1219] which, effective 1 November 2016, will replace the 2008 rules governing tariff classification opinions (rulings) with detailed rules authorizing the issuance of advance binding tariff classification opinions (rulings) and add origin opinions (rulings) and opinions (rulings) for the duties and fees due.