Switzerland Bilateral Trade Agreements

    Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, has been a member of the European Free Trade Association since May 1960. Within the framework of this association, Switzerland and the countries with which it has concluded an agreement can deduct customs duties and, more generally, protect intellectual property rights. The European Free Trade Association also regulates its trade in industrial products, fish and processed agricultural products. This is not the case with agricultural trade, because each Member State has different policies. On the contrary, agricultural trade is the subject of separate bilateral agreements. Other free trade agreements, such as with Japan and China, expand EFTA rules on trade in services, investment and government procurement. [2] The Free Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement with Japan was concluded in February 2009 and strengthened the already strong ties between Japan and Switzerland[3]. A free trade agreement between China and Switzerland was signed in 2013, which led to a reduction in tariffs and a reduction in non-tariff barriers. A free trade agreement on services is important because many Chinese service providers are interested in Switzerland as an economic location and many Swiss service providers operate in China. [4] In total, Switzerland has three free trade agreements with forty countries. Negotiations are under way with Indonesia, India and the Mercosur countries. [5] This is called the "guillotine clause".

    While the bilateral approach theoretically protects the right to refuse the application of new EU rules to Switzerland, the clause limits the room for manoeuvre in practice. The Agreement on the European Economic Area contains a similar clause. The Swiss federal government has recently made several substantial policy shifts, but specific agreements have been dealt with with the EU on the free movement of workers and areas of tax evasion within the Swiss banking system. This was the result of the first Swiss-EU summit in May 2004, at which nine bilateral agreements were signed. Romano Prodi, former president of the European Commission, said the agreements "have brought Switzerland closer to Europe". Joseph Deiss of the Federal Council said: "We may not be at the centre of Europe, but we are certainly at the heart of Europe." He continued: "We are entering a new era of relations between our two entities." [33] Until June 2019, the Federal Council did not find a sensible compromise with internal consultation partners such as trade unions and representatives of Swiss companies, nor with the outgoing President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker. EU member states have also said that no further compromises would be possible on the text of the proposed framework agreement with Switzerland. As a result, Brussels did not extend its stock exchange equivalence to the Swiss Stock Exchange due to this failure of negotiations between Switzerland and the EU and, as a counter-measure, the Federal Council Regulation of November 2018 limiting the future exchange of most Swiss shares traded in the EU to the SIX Swiss Exchange in Zurich was implemented. [20] [21] Free trade agreements are international agreements concluded between two parties (countries or transnational groupings) in order to guarantee free trade. Switzerland`s economic and trade relations with the EU are mainly governed by a series of bilateral agreements in which Switzerland has agreed to adopt certain aspects of EU legislation in exchange for access to part of the EU`s internal market. . .


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