Free trade

Home Engagement Policy Free trade
Contact Person Dr. Jean-Philippe KohlDr. Jean-Philippe Kohl
Head of Economic Policy / Deputy Director
+41 44 384 48 15 +41 44 384 48 15

Barrier-free market access thanks to free trade agreement

Every second franc Switzerland earns comes from abroad. Its prosperity and jobs are thus heavily dependent on the success of the export industry. To ensure that Swiss businesses can offer their products competitively on world markets, they need the most unobstructed market access possible. Free trade agreements create the essential conditions for this.

With an export rate of 80%, for the MEM industries the significance of the export business is even more profound than in many other sectors. The domestic market is far too small to guarantee the continued existence of the MEM companies and their jobs at their current size.

But exporting companies can only perform to their full potential if they are able to access the world markets for their products with as few barriers as possible. This requires a lowering of customs barriers and non-tariff trade barriers in the target markets, allowing exporting companies to become more competitive in the relevant markets. This creates new market opportunities and safeguards jobs both in the Swiss export industry and in its countless supply businesses.

Advantage to SMEs

Free trade is beneficial above all to SMEs. They rely on being able to access foreign markets from Switzerland with as little discrimination as possible in order to be able to offer their products and services in a competitive way. Large companies, on the other hand, are generally present internationally. They have alternatives to fall back on when there are high barriers to entry in an important target market. In these cases, they start up their own production operations in the target market. Often, SMEs are not in a position to do this.

Deepening the network of free trade agreements

Because the advances made within the WTO have been blocked, Swiss foreign trade policy needs to broaden and deepen the network of free trade agreements. Swissmem is supporting the Confederation in its work to conclude new free trade agreements. The emphasis here lies in particular on new agreements with Indonesia, the United States, Mercosur and India.

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Last update: 16.07.2019