The head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research gave an insight into Switzerland’s experience of negotiating free trade agreements at bilateral and multilateral level with different trade partners.
Relations between Switzerland and the UK are intensive and multifaceted. The UK is one of Switzerland’s most important trading partners in terms of goods and services, as well as foreign direct investment.
In 2015 the UK was Switzerland’s third largest market trading partner with goods exports of (CHF 13bn) and goods imports of CHF 31bn (incl. gold). 34,000 Swiss nationals live in the UK and 41,000 British nationals live in Switzerland.
Interdepartmental UK/EU advisory group
The advisory group led by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) monitors work on the UK’s exit from the European Union. It will put forward suggestions as to how to structure relations between Switzerland and the UK in future. Following the UK’s decision to leave the EU, economic relations between Switzerland and the UK – i.e. free trade agreements – but also other areas currently regulated through the first and second sets of bilateral agreements (e.g. air transport, movement of persons, scientific cooperation) will have to be redefined.
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