Portugal was one of the founding members of EFTA and because of economic difficulties an Industrial Development Fund was created within the Association to aid Portugal through its balance of payments difficulties. A special agreement with Portugal was signed offering special conditions under Annex G of the Convention which meant that half of its imports from EFTA feel under this annex.
On 12 June 1985 Heads of Government and representatives of the ten EC Member States and of Portugal and Spain signed the treaty on the accession of Portugal and Spain to the European Communities. This marked the successful end of more than eight years of negotiations for the third enlargement of the European Community (EC). For the EFTA countries this meant that Portugal, one of EFTA's founding members, would leave EFTA to join the Community at the end of the same year and that their first and only multilateral Free Trade Agreement with a non-EFTA country, the EFTA-Spain Agreement of 1979, would lapse at the end of the
year. It would, however, also imply that their Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with the European Communities (the EEC and the ECSC) would govern trade with Portugal and Spain, thus enlarging the European free trade system to comprise 350 million people. Since, however, the instruments concerning the accession of Portugal and Spain to the EC provide in principle for a transitional period of seven years before all duties and quotas are abolished and the accession can take full effect, it was evident that transitional arrangements would have to be negotiated with the EFTA countries concerning the application during a transitional periods of the EFTAs.
As early as May 1977 the EFTA countries expressed their understanding for and sympathy with the application for membership of the EC that Portugal had submitted in March that year. This manifestation of support was repeated by the EFTA Councils on many occasions over the years. At the ministerial meeting in November 1985 the Sven Norberg is Director of Legal Affairs in the EFTA Secretariat. EFTA Ministers expressed their appreciation of the spirit of cooperation that had characterized the relations between Portugal and the other EFTA countries throughout EFTA's twenty-five years. They also noted with satisfaction that the essence of the free trade between them would be preserved through the FTAs which link each of the remaining EFTA countries with the EC. The EFTA Industrial Development Fund for Portugal would also continue to make a valuable contribution to the economic relations between Portugal and the EFTA countries.