Switzerland Bilateral Trade Agreements

There are currently more than 100 bilateral agreements between the EU and Switzerland. Switzerland, officially a Swiss confederation, has been a member of the European Free Trade Association since May 1960. Within this association, Switzerland and the countries with which it has an agreement are able to remove tariffs and protect intellectual property rights in general. The European Free Trade Association also regulates trade in industrial products, fish products and processed agricultural products. This is not the case with agricultural trade, as each Member State has different policies. On the contrary, agricultural trade is the subject of separate bilateral agreements. Other free trade agreements, such as Japan and China, extend 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 relationship between Japan and Switzerland. A free trade agreement between China and Switzerland was signed in 2013, resulting in lower tariffs and lower non-tariff barriers. A free trade agreement in the services sector is important, as many Chinese service providers are interested in Switzerland as a business centre and many Swiss service providers operate in China. [4] In total, Switzerland has thirty free trade agreements with forty countries. Negotiations are under way with Indonesia, India and the Mercosur countries.

[5] The purpose of preferential origin is to make goods duty-free or duty-free when exporting to a free trade agreement. This document is accompanied by a certificate of movement of goods or a declaration of country of origin on invoice. Compliance with non-preferential country of origin rules does not exempt goods from customs when imported into a third country – these country of origin rules only apply if the destination country requires a country of origin certificate for importation. This should not be confused with the issue of Swissness (“Made in Switzerland”), which is subject to another set of rules. Switzerland is not a member state of the European Union (EU). It is linked to the Union through a series of bilateral agreements in which Switzerland has adopted various provisions of EU law to participate in the EU internal market without joining it as a member state. All but one (the micro-state of Liechtenstein) of Switzerland`s neighbouring countries are EU member states. This is called the “guillotine clause.” While the bilateral approach theoretically guarantees the right to refuse the application of the new EU rules to Switzerland, the clause limits the scope of application in practice. The agreement on the European Economic Area contains a similar clause.

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