As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, the importance of international trade agreements has grown significantly. One such agreement that has been in the headlines recently is the EU-ESA Free Trade Agreement.
The European Union and the European Free Trade Association (ESA) are two important economic blocs in Europe, and this agreement aims to further strengthen their economic ties. The ESA consists of four countries: Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein, and has a combined GDP of over $1 trillion.
The EU-ESA Free Trade Agreement negotiations began in 2014 and were concluded in 2018, with the agreement set to take effect on July 1st, 2021. The agreement covers a wide range of sectors including goods and services, investment, intellectual property rights, public procurement, and competition.
The Free Trade Agreement aims to remove tariff barriers on a wide range of goods traded between the EU and ESA member states. For example, 98% of EU exports of industrial goods to the ESA countries will be duty-free immediately upon entry into force.
In addition, the agreement includes provisions on the protection of intellectual property rights, which aim to ensure that companies that own patents, trademarks, or copyrights are protected and can trade freely across borders. This is particularly important for businesses in the tech and pharmaceutical industries.
The agreement also provides for the liberalization of trade in services, which will allow companies operating in the service sector to expand their operations across borders. This includes financial services, telecommunications, transport, and professional services.
One of the key benefits of the EU-ESA Free Trade Agreement is that it will provide businesses with greater certainty and predictability. Companies will be able to trade more freely and confidently across borders, knowing that they are protected by the agreement`s provisions.
In addition, the agreement is expected to boost economic growth and create jobs in both the EU and ESA countries. This is particularly important as Europe looks to recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Overall, the EU-ESA Free Trade Agreement is a significant step forward in strengthening economic ties between Europe`s two major trade blocs. With its provisions on goods and services, investment, intellectual property rights, public procurement, and competition, the agreement is expected to provide businesses with greater certainty and predictability, boost economic growth, and create jobs in both the EU and ESA countries.