Without prejudice to the specific provisions in force under the agreements between the European Economic Community and the EFTA States, this protocol applies to inspections and formalities relating to the transport of goods which must cross a border between an EFTA State and the Community and between the EFTA States. The terms of this participation are agreed between the parties and the candidate country. This agreement is submitted to all contracting parties for ratification or approval in accordance with their own procedures. The EEA Joint Committee makes decisions by mutual agreement between the Community, on the one hand, and the EFTA states speaking with one voice, on the other hand. with regard to the EFTA States, by the EFTA Supervisory Authority, in accordance with the rules of an agreement between EFTA states establishing the EFTA Supervisory Authority, which is responsible for the powers and functions defined in Protocol 26. Subject to the procedure under Article 9 ter, paragraph 3, of this Protocol, the time limits in paragraph 1 do not apply if international security agreements between the contracting party and third countries provide otherwise. the agreement is not such as to give the companies concerned the power to determine the prices of a substantial part of the products concerned in the area covered by the agreement, to control or limit production or marketing, nor to protect them from effective competition between other companies located in the territory covered by the agreement. Prior to reaching an agreement with a third country in the territory covered by this chapter, the parties consult with each other to ensure compatibility with the provisions of this chapter, particularly where the agreement contains provisions that depart from the customs security measures covered in this chapter. Each party ensures that agreements with third countries do not create rights and obligations for another party, unless the EEA Joint Committee decides otherwise. In any event, when different relations are established between one of the parties and a third country, consultations take place without delay, in accordance with paragraph 4, on the effects of such a divergence on the maintenance of the free movement of goods within the framework of this agreement.

If such an agreement is adopted despite persistent disputes between the Community and another interested party, Part VII of this agreement applies. However, under special conditions, including taking into account international agreements with third countries, the obligation to establish itself on the customs territory of a contracting party may be removed for certain categories of approved economic operators. In addition, each contracting party determines whether and under what conditions an airline or shipping company that is not established in its territory but has a regional office can obtain that status. The status of an approved economic operator granted in one contracting party is recognised by another party, without prejudice to customs controls, subject to the provisions and conditions set out in paragraph 2, in particular with regard to the consideration of the implementation of agreements with third countries providing for mutual recognition of the status of an approved economic operator.