Switzerland increases Free Trade Agreements

Posted on: 27/11/2013

Switzerland currently has a network of 29 free trade agreements with 39 countries outside the European Union – plus EFTA and its free trade agreement with the EU – and is continually negotiating new accords. The biggest breakthrough to date was the free trade agreement with China announced in July 2013. An agreement with Canada has been in effect since July 2009, while the EU finalized its own free trade agreement with Canada only last month. And an agreement with Japan has existed since September 2009, while the EU began negotiations with Japan only in March 2013.

Switzerland’s foreign trade has grown by about 6% a year on average over the last ten years, but free trade agreements have expanded trade between the respective parties by over 10% a year on average in the first four years after their adoption.

A study by Switzerland Global Enterprises shows that not all businesses take equal advantage of these agreements. Swiss businesses that do take advantage of them achieve significant savings that strengthen their competitive edge. The study analysed the degree to which businesses exploited free trade agreements with three countries and found a rate of 28% for the agreement with Canada, 51% for Mexico, and 60% with South Korea.

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