An agreement linking Finland with the European Free Trade Association was signed in Helsinki, Finland, Mar 27.
An agreement linking Finland with the European Free Trade Association was signed in Helsinki, Finland, Mar 27. EFTA - often referred to as the "Outer Seven" - is the rival European trade blue of the six-country Common Market.
It will then be submitted to the seven governments concerned (Portugal, Britain, Austria, Denmark Norway, Sweden and Switzerland) for approval, and will come into force by July. Finland is the first country to become associated with EFTA since the trading group was formed. The association, however, is in a special form, and will not prejudice negotiations to link to "Outer Seven" with the "Six".
Because of her trading relations with the Soviet Union, Finland preferred that their agreement with EFTA should take the form of an association rather than full membership. It gives the Finns the same rights and duties as other members.
The Trade Minister, Ahti Karjalainen, signed for Finland. The Chairman of the EFTA Council, British Ambassador C.D.W. O'Neill, said the total exports of the "Outer Seven" countries to one another amount at present to about GBP1,250 million a year. He hoped these exports would now increase - and Finland's with them. EFTA, he said, is a free association of governments and peoples bound together for the purpose of fostering their common prosperity. About one third of Finland's trade in both directions is done with EFTA countries, and this proportion is tending to rise.