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How Many Free Trade Agreements Does Switzerland Have

Most Swiss agreements are concluded under the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). In addition, Switzerland also has the right to negotiate free trade agreements without efTA participation, as has been the case, for example, with China, Japan and the Faroe Islands. Meanwhile, 1.8 billion francs of tariffs have been saved through exports to partner free trade countries. Since the fall of 2018, the United States and Switzerland have been holding exploratory talks that proponents of a free trade agreement hope will open the door to formal negotiations. Many praise the Trump administration with « enhanced exchanges. » With senior Trump administration officials – including U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer – visiting Davos in late January 2020 for the World Economic Forum, there are high hopes that the talks will move forward. Six years later, the CSFTA provides an interesting insight. Although the EU is far from thinking about its own trade agreement with China, the CSFTA serves as an indicator of the concessions the EU could expect from China and those it should give in return. Nevertheless, the CSFTA places EU negotiators on an unambitious basis. After all, even after Brexit, the EU is a much more important trading partner for China than Switzerland (trade between the EU-27 and China was $670 billion in 2018, more than ten times more than between Switzerland and China). In this article, we examine how trade between China and Switzerland has developed in the short period of time that has happened since the CSFTA came into force. We will then look at the concessions made by the parties in the areas of tariffs, services and intellectual property and try to extrapolate what would involve similar concessions for the EU. Although Switzerland and the EU are different economies in size, they have negotiating interests similar to those of professional services, intellectual property protection and advanced machinery, as well as defensive interests such as agriculture.

In October 2019, the Neue Zeitung reported that the Trump administration was considering imposing tariffs on medicines from Switzerland. The report immediately had an impact on Roche and Novartis, whose shares fell 1%. The reason for these potential tariffs is not a program against Swiss pharmaceutical imports, but President Trump`s overall agenda to reduce the U.S. trade deficit in the world. The President considers Swiss pharmaceutical imports to be a major factor in the US trade deficit of $18.9 billion with Switzerland. It is also possible that President Trump may use the threat of tariffs « as a whip to speed up trade negotiations… The ongoing implementation of these agreements obliges Switzerland to adopt relevant EU legislation in the covered sectors. After being recognized by the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 as an autonomous state, Switzerland has retained a modern market economy, with craftsmen gaining a reputation for quality and skill throughout Europe. After the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815), Switzerland experienced a period of strong economic growth. There have been improvements in the agricultural sector and tourism, mainly from England, has begun to increase. The Swiss industry was the sector that grew the most during this period. As England has imposed a blockade on the textile industry, Switzerland has been pushed to modernise textile production and start mechanical spinning.

In 1802, a large cotton factory was built in Zurich, leading to a boom in the textile industry.

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