The European Free Trade Association, also known as EFTA, is a free trade area and trade organization located in Europe. It was first established in 1960 and served as an alternative trade doc for the nations that did not want to join the European Union.
EFTA countries have the right to enter into third-country trade arrangements. However, there is a coordinated trade policy among the nations. As a joint unit, free trade agreements with the European Union and other nations have been concluded.
At its inception, seven nations were members of EFTA. Those founding members were:
However, some of these nations have since left EFTA and have joined the European Union. The first to leave were Denmark and the United Kingdom in 1973. Portugal was the next to leave in 1986. In 1995, Austria also left.
In the 1980s, Finland joined EFTA. However, it left in 1995.