November 2, 2018 / 8:15 AM / 2 months ago

EFTA trade bloc bracing for no-deal Brexit: Swiss paper

ZURICH (Reuters) - The four-nation EFTA trade alliance is drawing up contingency plans in case Britain crashes out of the European Union without an accord on its future ties with the EU, EFTA’s secretary general told a Swiss newspaper.

Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein comprise the European Free Trade Association, or EFTA.

“We cannot rule out a no-deal scenario until the last moment. Therefore, all parties must take precautions to minimize disruption of economic and financial flows and to secure the essential rights and obligations of citizens in such a case. This also applies to the EFTA states,” Henri Getaz, a Swiss diplomat, told the Neue Zuercher Zeitung.

“Such arrangements are currently being prepared. We are aware that some circles in London are promoting the idea of joining EFTA or European Economic Area (EEA). But that does not match the position of the British government, which has rejected the option and taken a different line,” he was quoted as saying in an interview published on Friday.

Asked whether EFTA states would be prepared should this option become an issue, Getaz said: “The question is not on the agenda until further notice. But if the British decide to do so, the EFTA states would consider it.”

Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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