Illustrative image (Source: http://trade.ec.europa.eu)

Hanoi (VNA) - Indonesia and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) on December 16 signed a bilateral agreement to boost trade and investment cooperation after nearly eight years of negotiations.

Under the agreement, Indonesia and the EFTA countries - Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland - will remove tariff and non-tariff barriers on thousands of their exports.

Among the products, Indonesia’s palm oil will have full market access in Iceland and Norway. Switzerland will also allow easier access of palm oil products of Indonesia to the country, but in limited quantities.

The Indonesian Ministry of Commerce said access to palm oil markets had prolonged negotiations between the country and the EFTA member nations for years. The first round of negotiations took place in early 2011.

According to the ministry, both sides will benefit from this agreement.

Major exports of Indonesia, such as seafood, coffee and textiles, will also enjoy preferential tariffs when entering the EFTA member countries. In return, EFTA partners’ key products such as gold, pharmaceuticals and dairy products will have easier access to the Indonesian market.

In 2017, Indonesia-EFTA import-export turnover hit 2.4 billion USD, of which Indonesia enjoyed a trade surplus of 212 million USD. The EFTA countries invested 621 million USD in Indonesia in the year.-VNA