The British Prime Minister Theresa May made a speech this week in which she seemed to rule out EEA membership. Does that mean that EFTA cannot feature in the UK’s post-brexit future? We argue the answer is no – it must.
First off, membership of EFTA means we would be essentially signing a free trade deal with four countries at once. Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
Secondly, as members of EFTA, we could apply to join their extensive Free Trade network – Currently, the EFTA States have 27 free trade agreements (covering 38 countries). This would at a stroke secure the UK’s post-brexit trading future.
Thirdly, EFTA has offices in Brussels and has regular meetings with the EU. This would mean we could maintain good relations with the EU – especially as EFTA countries share in programmes like ERASMUS and mutually reciprocal healthcare arrangements.
Fourthly, we could combine EFTA membership with a WTO-only relationship with the EU, or with a Association Agreement, a Free Trade UK-EU agreement, or a DCFTA.
Finally, bear in mind that the UK helped create EFTA in the first place.
Whatever our eventual relationship with the EU, we believe that EFTA membership is a vital component of our future external relations. For more details visit http://www.efta.int/