EFTA consists of Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Switzerland. It provides a framework for free trade between Member States and for free trade agreements with other nations, particularly the 28 EU Member States. The EEA links three of the EFTA states (Norway, Lichtenstein and Iceland) in a single market with EU member states. EFTA was established in 1960 as an alternative to free trade with the EU. The founding members were Austria, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Beginning in 1967, the EFTA states established the free trade of industrial products. On the basis of the EEA agreement and additional bilateral agreements, tariffs on most types of white fish products have been abolished. In addition, tariffs on other fish and processed fish products will be significantly reduced. However, the EEA agreement does not provide for tariff reductions for some of the most important species in Iceland and Norway. The EEA goes beyond traditional free trade agreements (FTAs) by extending the full rights and obligations of the EU internal market to EEA-EFTA countries (with the exception of Switzerland). The EEA covers the four freedoms of the internal market (free movement of goods, people, services and capital) and related policies (competition, transport, energy, economic and monetary cooperation). The agreement covers horizontal policies closely linked to the four freedoms: social policy (including occupational health and safety, labour law and equal treatment for men and women); consumer protection, the environment, statistics and corporate law; and a number of accompanying policies, such as research and technology development.
B, which are not based on the EU`s acquis or legally binding instruments, but are implemented through cooperative actions. Under the EEA agreement, Norway and Norwegians have the same rights and obligations as other EEA countries and their citizens in trade, investment, banking and insurance, as well as the purchase and sale of services. They have the same right to work, study and live in other EEA countries. The EEA agreement was signed in Porto on 2 May 1992 by the seven states of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), the European Community (EC) and its twelve Member States at the time.   On 6 December 1992, Swiss voters opposed ratification of the agreement by constitutional referendum and virtually froze the application for EC membership submitted earlier this year. Instead, Switzerland is bound to the EU by a series of bilateral agreements. On 1 January 1995, three former EFTA members – Austria, Finland and Sweden – joined the European Union, which the European Community had replaced with the entry into force of the Maastricht Treaty on 1 November 1993. Liechtenstein`s participation in the EEA was postponed until 1 May 1995.  Any European state that becomes a member of the European Union or becomes a member of EFTA may, in accordance with Article 128 of the agreement, apply to become a party to the EEA agreement.  However, when the EEA was established in 1994, several developments hampered its credibility. First, Switzerland rejected the EEA agreement in a national referendum on 6 December 1992, hampering the full integration of the EU and EFTA into the EEA. In addition, Austria had applied for full membership of the EEC in 1989, followed by Finland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland between 1991 and 1992 (Norway`s accession to the EU was rejected by referendum, with Switzerland rejecting the EU`s request after the EEA agreement was rejected by referendum).