Minister signs a free trade agreement between EFTA and Hong Kong

Össur Skarphéðinsson, the Foreign Minister of Iceland, has signed on behalf of Iceland, a free trade agreeement between the four EFTA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) and Hong Kong, China. The signing ceremony took place on 21 June at the EFTA Ministerial Meeting in Schaan, Liechtenstein.

The negotiations between the EFTA countries and Hong Kong, China were launched in January 2010 and concluded in March 2011. The Free Trade Agreement covers a broad range of areas, notably trade in goods (industrial and processed agricultural goods, fish and other marine products), trade in services, investment, protection of intellectual property rights, government procurement, competition and trade and environment. Bilateral arrangements on agricultural products between the individual EFTA States and Hong Kong, China also form part of the instruments establishing the free trade area between the two sides. A parallel agreement on labour was concluded in connection with the FTA.

Furthermore, the EFTA Ministers expressed their satisfaction at the positive conclusions reached on the feasibility of a free trade agreement in the Report from the EFTA-Vietnam Joint Study Group and look forward to launching negotiations at the earliest possible opportunity.

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