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Georgia signs free trade agreement with EFTA

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, June 29
Two years after signing the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) with the EU, Georgia has signed the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with European Free Trade Association (EFTA) that encompasses Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Iceland.

The document was signed on June 27 in Bern, Switzerland, within the frames of the Prime Minister's visit to the Swiss Confederation and the EFTA Ministerial. Kvirikashvili dubbed the signing of the FTA as an “historic event”.

"This happened exactly two years after signing the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area agreement with the EU. I would like to note that we still believe in the EU and are enthusiastic about its future,” Kvirikashvili said.

"Georgia and the EFTA countries share a common understanding of the value and importance of free trade. It is the very principle upon which the EFTA was created. With the conviction that free trade is a means of achieving growth and prosperity, since the 1960s the EFTA has been a standard bearer for international exchange,” the Prime Minister stated.

The PM said he believed that bilateral relations with Switzerland, as well as the other three EFTA member states, would be further deepened across all sectors.

"This is an instrument of deepening relations," Johann Schneider-Ammann, Federal President of the Swiss Confederation and head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, said while assessing the signing of the FTA. Pursuant to him, negotiations were initiated in September 2015 and finalized by February 2016.

"The speed of the process as well as the quality of the negotiations is a clear indication of positive relations between our countries, as well as good cooperation between the negotiating teams. Georgia and the EFTA countries have already established close economic relations - there is great potential for further expanding these links. We believe that the FTA will become a strong stimulus for the development of trade and investments between our economies," Johann Schneider-Ammann declared.

The agreement trade covers goods and services, sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures, technical barriers of trade, rules of origin, trade promotion and cooperation in customs matters, investments, intellectual property rights, public procurement, competition, trade protection measures, and sustainable development.

Georgia’s PM and the Georgian delegation departed for Switzerland on June 27 and concluded their official trip the next day.