What will the trade relationship between the UK and EFTA look like after the transition period? The EFTA Secretariat is not involved in the management of bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the EU. Since 2001, the EFTA Agreement has been continuously updated in order to adapt its content to the bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the EU and the EEA Agreement. These include, for example, provisions on the free movement of persons between all EFTA States. Article 126 of the WITHDRAWAL Agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom provides for a transition period until 31 December 2020. It follows from Article 129 of the Withdrawal Agreement that, during the transitional period, the United Kingdom is bound by the obligations arising from international agreements concluded by the European Union, including the EEA Agreement. The EEA EFTA States have agreed to treat the UK as an EU Member State during this period. Accordingly, the rights and obligations between the United Kingdom and the EEA EFTA States contained in the EEA Agreement continue to apply until 31 December 2020. 27. The Annex aims to facilitate trade in chemicals, to ensure a high level of environmental and health protection and to ensure co-operation between authorities.
These include joint commitments for the full implementation of international classification and labelling requirements, as well as commitments to continued cooperation and exchange of information. “We are delighted with this new important step in relations between Liechtenstein and Great Britain. The agreement creates legal certainty for Liechtenstein companies and prevents discrimination against EU companies. The Council examines substantive issues, in particular as regards the development of EFTA relations with third countries and the management of free trade agreements, and carries out a general examination of relations with the politics and administration of eu third countries. Its mandate is to examine possible policies to promote the general objectives of the Association and to facilitate the development of links with other States, confederations of States or international organizations. The Council also manages relations between the EFTA States under the EFTA Agreement. EEA issues will be dealt with by the Standing Committee in Brussels. After the Council of the European Union called in November 2012 for an assessment of the EU`s relations with Monaco, Andorra and San Marino, which it described as “fragmented”, the European Commission published a report setting out the options for its further integration into the EU.  Unlike Liechtenstein, which is a member of the EEA through EFTA and the Schengen Agreement, relations with these three states are based on a set of agreements on specific issues. The report examines four alternatives to the current situation: “The free trade agreement between the United Kingdom and Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein, which we signed today, marks a new beginning in relations between our countries. I am very pleased with the result because I am convinced that this agreement will strengthen our economic relations and further strengthen relations between nations. This signature is historic in the true sense of the word.
Article 56(3) of the EFTA Agreement provides that a new EFTA State `shall apply to become a party to free trade agreements between Member States, of the one part, and third countries, confederations or international organisations, of the other part`. As a member of a customs union, a country that has acceded to EFTA cannot fulfil this obligation. Accession to EFTA does not preclude the conclusion of a customs agreement with the EU; existing EFTA countries regulate their relations with the EU through different instruments. “The UK market is of great importance to Norway. Today is an important step in our future relationship with the UK. I am proud that we have reached an ambitious and comprehensive free trade agreement that will provide predictability and opportunity for our businesses, investors, students and workers in the coming years. The EFTA States are engaged in many processes aimed at maintaining as close a trade relationship as possible with the United Kingdom. In 1992, EFTA and the EU signed the Agreement on the European Economic Area in Porto, Portugal. However, the proposal to ratify Switzerland`s participation was rejected in a referendum. (Nevertheless, Switzerland has concluded several bilateral agreements with the EU that allow it to participate in the European single market, the Schengen Agreement and other programmes). Thus, with the exception of Switzerland, EFTA members are also members of the European Economic Area (EEA). The EEA comprises three Member States of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and 28 Member States of the European Union (EU), including Croatia, which is provisionally applying the Agreement pending its ratification by all EEA countries.
  It was created on 1 January 1994 following an agreement with the European Community (which became the EU two months earlier).  It allows EFTA-EEA countries to participate in the EU internal market without being members of the EU. They adopt almost all EU legislation on the internal market, with the exception of legislation on agriculture and fisheries. However, they also contribute to and influence the formation of new policies and legislation relevant to the EEA at an early stage as part of a formal decision-making process. One EFTA member, Switzerland, has not joined the EEA but has concluded a number of bilateral agreements, including a free trade agreement, with the EU. 3. Following the UK`s withdrawal from the EU, the UK Government has striven to provide businesses and consumers with the greatest possible security. To achieve this, Her Majesty`s Government has developed new bilateral agreements that help support the UK`s trade relations with partner countries. This agreement is an important milestone for the UK, which defines itself as an independent trading nation. 33.
The objective of this chapter is to reduce the burden on economic operators at the border and to promote the use of modern and advanced customs practices. For example, the agreement contains obligations regarding the release of goods at the border with goods to be released within 48 hours. It is important to note that it includes the obligation to issue preliminary rulings to traders within 90 days. In this way, operators can obtain reliable and binding information on the customs treatment of their goods before importation in less time. 35. The chapter contains assurances on the protection of traders` confidential information in order to ensure that economic operators have verification mechanisms in place for decisions by customs authorities. 62. The United Kingdom, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein have agreed on provisions to promote trade in digital services and facilitate new forms of trade in goods and services. The agreement ensures that the parties will cooperate on digital trade issues that may arise in the future, including emerging technologies.
“A free trade agreement with the UK has been a priority during my tenure and will be crucial for businesses and consumers. I have stressed the importance of ensuring a strong future relationship with the UK after it leaves the EU and I am confident that this agreement will strengthen the economic and friendly ties between Iceland and the UK in the years to come. 77. The United Kingdom, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are committed to providing SMEs with clear and accessible online information on the Agreement to assist them in trading and doing business within the jurisdiction of each Party. 93. The Agreement contains provisions to implement the Paris Agreement, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote trade and investment in order to develop the low-carbon economy. [Footnote 10] The section contains commitments to achieve long-term climate goals, including carbon neutrality for the UK. The section also includes cooperation commitments in areas such as the use of renewable energy, including offshore production in the North Sea and the development of climate-friendly technologies such as carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) and hydrogen technologies. .