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Switzerland signs free trade agreement with Mexico

The four members of the European Free Trade Association, which includes Switzerland, on Friday agreed to a free trade accord with Mexico. EFTA said the treaty gives the signatory states access to Mexico's markets.

The four EFTA states (Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland will now be able to tap into the Mexican market which has so far been the preserve of the United States and the European Union.

"The accord covers all the issues related to commercial relations between the EFTA states and Mexico, including services and investments, rules of competition and intellectual property rights," the association said.

Customs duties on goods, currently up to 20 per cent, will be reduced rapidly, to reach five per cent by 2003. EFTA said they would be eliminated altogether by 2007.

The accord is due to be ratified in Cancun, Mexico, at the end of the month.

EFTA was created in 1960 as an alternative to the European Union. However, since the 1970s, members Britain, Portugal, Denmark, Austria, Sweden and Finland have left the association to join the European Union.

swissinfo with agencies

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