The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is a free trade area between its members, without any further political objectives. In contrast to the European Union (EU), EFTA is not a customs union. This means that the individual EFTA States are free to set their own customs tariffs and arrange other foreign trade measures vis-à-vis non-EFTA States.
EFTA was founded by the Stockholm Convention in 1960 in order to facilitate trade between the Member States by eliminating the customs duties levied on industrial products. A 2001 agreement on the renewal of the EFTA Convention integrated, among other things, new provisions for trade in services, movement of capital, and the protection of intellectual property.
Since the 1990s, the EFTA Member States have been using the organization as a platform to negotiate free trade agreements with third countries outside of the EU. In 2013, EFTA boasted a network of 25 such agreements with 35 partners, with other agreements continuously in the negotiations pipeline.