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"EFTA" redirects here. For other uses, see EFTA (disambiguation).

The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is a common market consisting of four European countries that operates in parallel with – and is linked to – the European Union (EU). The EFTA was established on 3 May 1960 as a trade bloc-alternative for European states who were either unable or unwilling to join the then-European Economic Community (EEC) which has now become the EU. The Stockholm Convention, establishing the EFTA, was signed on 4 January 1960 in the Swedish capital by seven countries (known as the "outer seven").

Today's EFTA members are Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, of which the latter two were founding members. The initial Stockholm Convention was superseded by the Vaduz Convention, which enabled greater liberalisation of trade among the member states.

EFTA states have jointly concluded free trade agreements with a number of other countries. All four current members of EFTA participate in the European Union's single market; Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the Agreement on a European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland through a set of bilateral agreements. This development prompted the EFTA states to modernise their Convention to ensure that it will continue to provide a successful framework for the expansion and liberalization of trade among themselves and with the rest of the world.


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