As Switzerland is an EFTA member state but not part of the EEA, what will be the future trade relations between Switzerland and the United Kingdom? Article 126 of the WITHDRAWAL Agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom provides for a transition period until 31 December 2020. It follows from Article 129 of the Withdrawal Agreement that, during the transition period, the United Kingdom is bound by the obligations arising from international agreements concluded by the European Union, including the EEA Agreement. The EEA EFTA States have agreed to treat the UK as an EU Member State during this period. Accordingly, the rights and obligations between the United Kingdom and the EEA EFTA States contained in the EEA Agreement continue to apply until 31 December 2020. Switzerland has established several dialogues with the United Kingdom: (1) a so-called continuity dialogue, which deals with horizontal issues and monitors progress in each area, and (2) specific dialogues in the areas currently covered by the agreements between Switzerland and the EU. Citizens of the EFTA States shall enjoy free movement on their territory in accordance with the EFTA Convention.  EFTA nationals also enjoy freedom of movement within the European Union (EU). EFTA nationals and EU citizens are not only exempt from the visa requirement, but also have the right to enter and stay in the countries of the other country. The Citizens` Rights Directive (sometimes referred to as the “Free Movement Directive”) defines the right to free movement of citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA), which includes the three EFTA members, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein, as well as the EU Member States. Switzerland, which is a member of EFTA but not of the EEA, is not bound by the directive, but has concluded a separate bilateral agreement on the free movement of persons with the EU.
56.3 of the EFTA Convention stipulates that a new EFTA Member State “shall apply to become a party to free trade agreements between Member States, on the one hand, and third countries, associations of States or international organisations, on the other”. As a member of a customs union, an EFTA country cannot fulfil this obligation. Accession to EFTA does not preclude the conclusion of a customs agreement with the EU; existing EFTA countries regulate their relations with the EU through various instruments. Can EFTA States also sign bilateral free trade agreements? The headquarters in Geneva are responsible for the management and negotiation of free trade agreements with third countries and support the EFTA Council. In order to extend the EU`s internal market to the EFTA countries, the European Economic Area (EEA) was created in 1994. Of the four EFTA states, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are part of the EEA, Switzerland is not. . . .