chapter  24
11 Pages


WithMarius Vahl, Aslak Berg

This chapter traces the activities and accomplishments of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), established in 1960. The overriding purpose of EFTA is to facilitate free trade and closer economic cooperation among its members. Over the years, the organization has successfully adapted to a changing global environment. Its four current members Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, are all relatively small, advanced and open economies that are dependent on trade for their prosperity. They share liberal approaches to trade while being highly protective of their agricultural sectors. EFTA is somewhat unique in that its members do not trade that much with each other. Instead, the strength of EFTA is its ability to bring together the member countries as a bloc to negotiate package deals on more favourable terms. The chapter ends with a discussion of the challenges that lie ahead.