European Free Trade Association. The EFTA was established in 1947 with eight initial countries (Austria, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom). The reason for establishing this was to cooperate on easing economic difficulties in trade.
A few years leater, the Coal and Steel Union was established and became an alternative to EFTA. The CSU later evolved into the EEC.
The goverments that were members of OECD but not EEC started to make treaties on free trade. The Stockholm Convention abolished may quantitative restrictions on trade among the countries and some taxes.
Later, most of the countries have joined the EU treaty system, leaving Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Lichtenstein in the EFTA system. The EFTA countries cooperate cloesly with the EC / EU system through the EEA. EFTA has its own court to decide and judge issues among the EFTA countries.