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Switzerland's economic and trade relations with the EU are mainly governed through a series of bilateral agreements where Switzerland has agreed to take over certain aspects of EU legislation in exchange for accessing part of the EU's single market.
- The EU is Switzerland's main trading partner, whereas Switzerland is the EU's fourth trading partner after China, the US and the UK. In 2021, our bilateral trade in goods reached €280 billion, accounting for 6.6% of the EU’s total trade in goods.
- Swiss merchandise exports to the EU are concentrated in a few sectors, particularly chemicals/pharma and medical products (€54.4 billion, 44%), machinery and appliances (€15.6 billion, 12.6%), pearls and precious metals (€13.8 billion, 11.2%), and optical and photographic instruments (€11.3 billion, 9.2%).
- Switzerland is a very important partner of the EU for trade in services, in particular for commercial services. In 2020, total bilateral trade in services reached €162.7 billion, accounting for 9.1% of the EU’s total trade in services.
Both the EU and Switzerland are among each other's top destinations for foreign investment.
The EU and Switzerland
The cornerstone of EU-Swiss relations is the Free Trade Agreement of 1972.
As a consequence of the rejection of the EEA membership in 1992, Switzerland and the EU agreed on a package of seven sectoral agreements signed in 1999 (known in Switzerland as 'Bilaterals I'). These include: free movement of persons, technical trade barriers, public procurement, agriculture, and air and land transport.
A further set of sectoral agreements was signed in 2004 (known as 'Bilaterals II'), covering, inter alia, Switzerland's participation in Schengen and Dublin, and agreements on taxation of savings, processed agricultural products, statistics, combating fraud, participation in the EU Media Programme and the Environment Agency.
Overall, more than 100 bilateral agreements currently exist between the EU and Switzerland.
The ongoing implementation of these agreements obliges Switzerland to take over relevant EU legislation in the covered sectors.
These bilateral agreements between the EU and Switzerland are currently managed through approximately 20 joint committees.
As a consequence of its partial integration in the EU's single market, Switzerland pays a financial contribution to economic and social cohesion in the new EU Member States.
Between 2014 and 2021, the EU and Switzerland negotiated an institutional framework agreement, which should have secured and further developed Switzerland’s participation in the EU internal market. In May 2021, the Swiss government unilaterally terminated these talks. The EU is currently analysing the impact of this announcement on the bilateral relationship.
Committees and Dialogues
The EU and Switzerland meet regularly to discuss issues and best practices and oversee the proper functioning of the Agreement.
Trading with Switzerland
- Importing into the EU from Switzerland
- EU trade defence measures on imports from Switzerland
- Exporting from the EU to Switzerland
- Trade relations are part of the EU's overall political and economic relations with Switzerland
- Switzerland is a member of the World Trade Organization
Today, the EU and other WTO members have formally notified the ‘Multi-party interim appeal arbitration arrangement’ (MPIA) to the World Trade Organization (WTO). This notification marks the start of the application of the MPIA to disputes arising between the participating WTO members.