- UK moves to negotiate new, beefed-up free trade deal with fellow ‘services superpower’ Switzerland
- Government launches eight-week consultation on new UK-Switzerland FTA to gather feedback from UK businesses and public and set negotiating objectives
- The new agreement will take our relationship to the next level in industries of the future such as digital commerce and innovative services
The UK today (28 April 2022) kicked off work on a new, enhanced trade deal with Switzerland, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosted Swiss President Ignazio Cassis for bilateral talks in London.
The improved deal aims to boost two-way trade between two of the world’s biggest services superpowers through measures such as removing barriers and opening up access for UK businesses to the Swiss market.
The Department for International Trade is launching an eight-week consultation calling on businesses and the public to provide input before negotiations begin.
Switzerland is already an important partner for the UK, with two-way trade worth nearly £35 billion a year. Many UK businesses benefit from tariff free trade on most goods under our existing renewed EU trade deal, but the current deal does not cover services, which make up more than half of our bilateral relationship .
As two services powerhouses globally recognized for their expertise, the United Kingdom and Switzerland want to negotiate an ambitious and unprecedented free trade agreement that will boost our two economies and show the world what is possible between two innovative democracies and like-minded.
International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said:
A new, enhanced trade agreement with Switzerland is a tremendous opportunity to liberalize trade with our 10th largest trading partner and unlock new opportunities for our world-leading services sector.
As two services superpowers, we have a huge opportunity to negotiate a modern, ambitious and unprecedented agreement that will boost our two economies and show the world what is possible between two innovative and like-minded nations that are firmly in Europe. but outside the EU.
In 2020, the UK was the world’s second largest services exporter, with exports worth £266.8 billion. Switzerland was 12th, with £89.6 billion.
This agreement will help take our relationship to the next level in industries of the future such as digital commerce, innovative services and green growth – creating better paying jobs across the country. It will support trade in industries vital to the UK economy, including finance, legal services, consultancy, technology and the creative industries, helping to set new rules and standards for digital trade in the 21st century.
CBI Chairman Lord Bilimoria said:
The fact that the DIT is seeking input to improve the FTA between the UK and Switzerland is to be welcomed, and the CBI looks forward to responding. The UK-Swiss Bilateral Trade and Investment Council, launched earlier this year, has identified significant opportunities to deepen existing trading relationships, primarily by improving digital and services trade.
Alongside the ongoing dialogue on financial services, this consultation offers an opportunity to increase cooperation on issues ranging from customs to reducing the complexity of short-term mobility and strengthening cooperation on innovation through to our world-class research institutes.
Nicola Watkinson, Managing Director, International Trade and Investment, TheCityUK, said:
As the world’s largest and third largest net exporters of financial and related professional services, the UK and Switzerland have much to gain from establishing a new gold standard for trade in services between two sovereign nations.
In the UK, nearly half of these exports are generated outside of London, in UK towns and cities, so making progress with this deal can bring real benefits to local jobs and prosperity. In the long term, a free trade agreement with Switzerland will complement broader progress towards mutual recognition and can serve as a model for next-generation trade agreements with other partners around the world.
*The consultation can be accessed on the gov.uk website.