Although EFTA is not a customs union and Member States have the full right to conclude bilateral trade agreements for third countries, it has a coordinated trade policy.  As a result, their Member States have concluded free trade agreements with the EU and a number of other countries.  To participate in the EU internal market, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are contracting parties to the European Economic Area (EEA) agreement with the rules set by the EFTA Supervisory Authority and the EFTA Court of Justice. Instead, Switzerland has a series of bilateral agreements with the EU. Norway said it was also considering temporary solutions for services and investment, in addition to the goods agreement announced on Wednesday. Agriculture and fisheries are not covered by the EEA agreement. However, Article 19 of this directive underlines the parties` commitment to a gradual liberalisation of agricultural trade, which will be achieved through the conclusion of separate agreements on this basis. Norway is not in the European Union and Britain left the bloc on 31 January, but both countries still operate under the same market rules of the European Economic Area (EEA), which consists of EU member states and EFTA (European Free Trade Association). No no. Further measures would be needed, as Norway is not in the customs union. To resolve the controversial issue of preventing a hard border in Ireland, the UK would also have to agree on a customs agreement with the EU.
This means that the UK should have a so-called `Norway Plus` solution. This could limit its ability to negotiate its own trade agreements. EFTA was historically one of the two dominant trading blocs in Western Europe, but it is now much smaller and closely linked to its historical competitor, the European Union. It was created on 3 May 1960 as an alternative trading bloc for European states that were unable or unable to join the European Economic Community (EEC), then the EU`s main predecessor. The Stockholm Agreement (1960 establishing EFTA) was signed on 4 January 1960 in the Swedish capital by seven countries (known as the « Seven Outsiders »: Austria, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom).  A revised agreement, the Vaduz Convention, was signed on 21 June 2001 and came into force on 1 June 2002.  A comprehensive bilateral free trade agreement with Iceland, known as the Hoyvék Agreement, has already been concluded. At present, parties that support or reject EU membership are in the right and left coalitions: as a result, most governments contain pro and anti-EU elements. To avoid further debates on EU membership, anti-European parties generally require « suicide paragraphs » in government coalition agreements, meaning that if a party within the coalition formally starts a new debate on the EU, the government will fall. This applies to both the former centre-right government of Bondevik and the centre-left government of Stoltenberg.