Skip to content

A free trade agreement does not cover all goods

Each individual free trade agreement has a scope of goods -  a list of the goods covered by the agreement. This means that not all goods are covered by the free trade agreements. 

To find out what goods it is possible to obtain preferential treatment for, you must check the scope of goods for the individual agreement. The scope of goods lists are based on the HS nomenclature (the Customs Tariff). 

The scope of goods is covered in the protocols or annexes to the individual agreements. 

Traditionally, the scope of goods in the free trade agreements is divided into five parts:

  • processed agricultural products
  • basic agricultural products
  • fish and marine products
  • industrial products
  • products that are not covered

Processed agricultural products

Processed agricultural products are covered in a separate protocol or annex to the individual free trade agreement. The annex shows what products are covered and what rates of customs duty the product is subject to when importing it to an individual party to the agreement. In the EEA agreement, the scope of goods for processed agricultural products is covered in Protocol 3 to the agreement.

Basic agricultural products

Basic agricultural products are not covered by the main agreement, but are regulated by bilateral agricultural agreements with the individual free trade parties. These agreements are not usually directly linked to the free trade agreement and normally have their own rules applicable between Norway and the party to the agreement. 

Fish and marine products

Fish and marine products are included in a seperate protocol or annex to the individual free trade agreement, which includes an explanation of which products are included in the scope of goods. EFTA always wishes to have completely free trade - i.e. duty-free status for all fish and marine products. In the EEA agreement, these products are covered in Protocol 9. 

Industrial products

Industrial products are covered in the main agreement, and full duty-free status is given for all products in Chapters 25-97 in the Customs Tariff upon import to Norway (EFTA countries). Exceptions are made for individual products that are counted as agricultural goods even if they are not classified in Chapters 1-24.

Products that are not covered

Products not covered by the agreement can be found in a seperate protocol or annex. In the majority of agreements, only some products in Chapters 35-38 are exempted from the scope of goods because they are counted as agricultural products. In the EEA agreement, these products can be found in Protocol 2. 

Asymmetry

Some of the agreements are asymmetrical, which means that in practice that one party imposes lower rates than the other over a given period.

Example:

The EFTA countries provide full duty-free status for all individual products, but the party to the agreement wishes to protect its own production of such goods. In such an event, these products will not receive full duty-free status from day 1, but the rates of duty will be reduced over time. 

Share with others: