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Feasibility study on strengthening trade and investment with European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries: submissions

Overview

The Australian Government is pursuing new trade opportunities for Australian businesses. As Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, announced in February 2021, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is undertaking a feasibility study on how best to strengthen trade and investment with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), including possibly through a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The members of EFTA are Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. The feasibility study will be completed by 30 June 2021.

The EFTA countries are significant investors in Australia. In 2019, investment from Switzerland was valued at more than $56 billion (ranked 12th), while investment from Norway was more than $25 billion (ranked 18th). EFTA investors value Australia’s high regulatory and legal standards and close integration with the economies of the Indo-Pacific. Total bilateral trade between Australia and EFTA was valued at $9.4 billion in 2019.

EFTA countries sit outside the EU, but are highly integrated with European markets through the European Economic Area and bilateral agreements. Strengthening our trade and investment ties with EFTA would potentially complement our FTAs with the EU and the UK, which are currently under negotiation.

Submissions

Public consultations will be a component of the feasibility study. Submissions will assist the Government in identifying Australia’s priorities for strengthening trade and investment with EFTA. DFAT invites submissions from interested businesses, groups and individuals. Submissions close 21 May 2021.

We are particularly interested in submissions that provide perspectives on:

  • tariff and non-tariff barriers to goods and services trade
  • barriers to investment
  • specific trade and investment challenges
  • trade and investment opportunities between Australia and EFTA, including sector-specific opportunities
  • potential benefits and costs of pursuing an FTA with EFTA
  • more general issues associated with a possible FTA.

Submissions and confidentiality

All submissions will be treated as public and may be published on this website, unless the author specifically requested in writing at the time of lodgement that the submission, or part thereof, be handled in confidence. Unless otherwise requested, DFAT will publish the submission and the name of the submitting organisation or individual on its website. DFAT will not edit submissions prior to publishing. All details that have been included in a submission, including contact information, will be available on the DFAT website.

Submitters may request that all, or part, of a submission be treated as confidential. Material supplied in-confidence should be clearly marked 'IN CONFIDENCE' and be provided in a separate attachment to non-confidential material.

By making a submission, the author(s) agree to their submission, or part thereof, being used by the Commonwealth of Australia for Commonwealth purposes.

DFAT has engaged an external consultant to conduct the feasibility study. Please advise if you do not wish your submission to be shared with the consultant.

Contact

Submissions and inquiries can be sent to:

Email: eftatrade@dfat.gov.au

Mail:

Europe Trade Section
Europe and Latin America Division
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
RG Casey Building, John McEwen Crescent
Barton ACT 0221

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