Free Trade Agreement between EFTA and Canada: A Comprehensive Guide
The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and Canada is a comprehensive agreement that aims to promote trade in goods and services, while also creating a stable and predictable business environment. The agreement was signed in Davos, Switzerland in January 2008 and came into force on July 1, 2009.
The EFTA is a regional trade organization composed of four European states: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. The organization was established in 1960, with the primary objective of promoting economic integration among its member states. The EFTA currently has 29 free trade agreements in force, including the FTA with Canada.
The FTA between EFTA and Canada covers a wide range of trade-related issues, including the elimination of tariffs, non-tariff barriers, and the liberalization of trade in services. The agreement also includes provisions on intellectual property, investment, and public procurement.
One of the significant benefits of the FTA is the elimination of tariffs on industrial products between the EFTA and Canada. As of September 1, 2020, tariffs on 98.2 percent of EFTA exports to Canada were eliminated, and 98.3 percent of Canadian exports to EFTA were also duty-free. The remaining tariffs will be phased out over time.
The FTA also includes provisions on trade in services, which facilitate market access for service providers and ensure non-discriminatory treatment of foreign service suppliers. The agreement covers a range of services, including financial services, telecommunications, transport, and professional services.
Another critical component of the FTA is the protection of intellectual property rights. The agreement includes provisions on patents, trademarks, copyright, and geographical indications. It also sets out procedures for the enforcement of intellectual property rights and establishes a framework for cooperation between the EFTA and Canada on intellectual property issues.
The FTA also provides for the liberalization of investment between the EFTA and Canada. The agreement guarantees investors from both sides fair and equitable treatment, protection against expropriation without compensation, and the free transfer of funds. It also establishes a mechanism for the settlement of investment disputes between investors and the host state.
Finally, the FTA includes provisions on public procurement, which ensures fair and transparent competition in government procurement contracts. The agreement covers a wide range of procurement activities, including infrastructure projects, goods, and services.
In conclusion, the FTA between EFTA and Canada is a comprehensive agreement that promotes free trade, investment, and cooperation between the two regions. The agreement has resulted in significant benefits for both sides, including the elimination of tariffs, increased market access, and the protection of intellectual property rights. As such, the FTA has contributed to the expansion of trade and investment flows between EFTA and Canada, creating a stable and predictable business environment for companies on both sides.