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Swiss Upper House Passes China FTA

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

25 March 2014


The Swiss Council of States has adopted the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China, signed in Beijing on July 6, 2013. The upper house waved through the deal by 25 votes to 3, with 11 abstentions.

Swiss business federation Economiesuisse said the FTA would strengthen economic ties between Switzerland and China through the removal of customs duties and technical barriers to trade. Given the importance of China in the global economy, the agreement will add to Switzerland's export potential and significantly strengthen the Swiss financial center, it noted.

The network of agreements with China covers trade in goods and services, the protection of intellectual property, competition, the promotion of investments, and commercial and environmental issues linked to trade, Economiesuisse noted. The accord is a milestone in Switzerland's foreign economic policy, and gives a clear signal against protectionism in favor of the liberalization of markets, the industry association concluded.

China is the world's second largest economy and Switzerland's third main trading partner. Last year, Swiss exports to China were up 11.9 percent on the previous year, reaching about CHF8.8bn (USD10bn). Imports totaled approximately CHF11.5bn, reflecting a clear upward trend.

The Swiss business industry is hopeful that the accord will enter into force in July.

TAGS: environment | investment | business | free trade agreement (FTA) | intellectual property | China | excise duty | agreements | Switzerland | trade | services

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