(EFTA) Organization established 1960 consisting of Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and (from 1991) Liechtenstein, previously a nonvoting associate member. There are no import duties between members. Of the original EFTA members, Britain and Denmark left (1972) to join the European Community (EC), as did Portugal (1985); Austria, Finland, and Sweden joined the EC's successor, the European Union, 1995.
In 1973 the EC signed agreements with EFTA members, setting up a free-trade area of over 300 million consumers. Trade between the two groups amounted to over half of total EFTA trade. A further pact signed Oct 1991 between the EC and EFTA provided for a European Economic Area (EEA), allowing EFTA greater access to the EC market by ending many of the restrictions. The EEA came into effect Jan 1994.