The BIH Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Mirko Šarović signed on behalf of BIH, and ministers of member countries of the association, Switzerland Confederation, Kingdom of Norway, Iceland and Liechenstein, signed the agreement on behalf of EFTA.
On this occasion, Minister Šarović said that the signing of this agreement represents a confirmation of the aspirations of the two sides to, through an agreed liberalization of goods and services, to create conditions for further development, as well as to improve trade and economic cooperation for mutual benefit. He added that, in addition to the potential positive effects of this agreement for the BIH economy, which in a relatively short time could expect the opening of the market of EFTA countries of 13 million people, the agreement represents an important step forward in the EU integration of BiH in the so-called “European Economic Area”, which is based on free movement of people, goods, services and capital.
The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is an association that united the markets of Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein in the area of trade, and established with the goal to provide a framework for the liberalization of the trade of goods among its members.
In addition to the reciprocal liberalization of trade of the three EFTA countries Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, they have an agreement on European Economic Area (EEA) since 1994 with the EU, which provides for the inclusion of EU legislation that covers free freedoms-free trade of goods, services, labor and capital in 30 countries (27 EU member states and 3 EFTA members).
Switzerland is not formally a part of the EEA Agreement, but it has a bilateral agreement with the EU that also involves the harmonization of legislation.
In addition to EFTA countries, including a number of agreements on free trade with third countries throughout the world, one of the world’s largest networks of trade have been created, which covers around 80 percent of foreign trade with the rest of the world, and negotiations with several countries are ongoing.
Of the countries in the region, BiH is the last country that concludes this agreement with EFTA.
Negotiations on the free trade agreement between BiH and EFTA began on the basis of the decision of the Presidency of BiH at the end of March 2011. After more than two years of very complex and difficult negotiations, they were successfully completed at the end of May, announced the BiH Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations.