The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) began as a British proposal. It was produced in 1956 in response to the increasing certainty that the six members of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) were about to extend their integration efforts to cover the whole of their economies by forming a customs union and adopting a common agricultural policy with provision for internal freedom of factor movements. The British initiative for a European-wide free trade area was intended to permit the rest of Western Europe to participate in the advantages of free trade in industrial products without committing themselves either to a common agricultural policy or, more important, to the political objective of forming a European super-state that in the days before Charles de Gaulle bulked large in European thinking.
KeywordsFree Trade Trade Liberalization Economic Integration Common Agricultural Policy Custom Union
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