Canada and EFTA sign free trade agreement

Canadian officials announced at the weekend that a trade agreement between Canada and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) had been signed. The pact will increase commercial ties between Canada and Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

The agreement was signed in Davos, Switzerland, during the World Economic Forum.

Canada’s Minister for International Trade, David Emerson, released a statement about the agreement: “This Free Trade Agreement will open up opportunities by bringing down trade barriers and by providing Canadian business a foothold in the heart of Europe.”

“Canada enjoys a close economic relationship with the countries of EFTA which are among the wealthiest and most sophisticated economies in the world,” the statement read.

Bilateral trade between Canada and the EFTA countries is currently not particularly substantial, accounting for around $10 billion in 2006. The new agreement is expected to boost this figure.

With the free trade agreement signed, customs duty on non-agricultural products has been lifted and duties have decreased on some farm foods. Before it can come into full force however, the pact must be ratified by the Canadian parliament.

Canada has free trade agreements with the Untied States, Israel, Costa Rica, Mexico and Chile.