The provisions on the trade in services build on the WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) but also go further in key areas. The aim is to achieve better conditions for Swiss companies exporting services and prevent potential discrimination against service providers from other countries.
The FTAs cover all service sectors and forms of service provision as a basic principle. The general rules in the chapter on services are supplemented by specific annexes (e.g. on financial services) that stipulate specific rules and obligations for the relevant sector. The agreements also contain lists of commitments by both partners. These lists specify the service sectors and form of service provision for which the other party’s service providers are to receive access to the first party’s domestic market (market access) and for which discrimination against the first party’s own service providers is banned (national treatment). This page provides more information on the trade in services and the service-related provisions of Switzerland’s free trade agreements.
FAQs on trade in services
Trade in services covers numerous sectors including the liberal professions (doctors, lawyers and other providers of legal services, architects, engineers), business services (e.g. marketing, advertising or consulting), post and telecommunications, trading and brokerage services, financial services (banks, insurers, stock exchanges and securities dealers), tourism (hotels, restaurants, tour guides), transport and logistics, culture and audiovisual services, healthcare, education, construction, energy and the environment as well as other services relating to the manufacture or transformation of industrial, agricultural and mining products.
Switzerland would like to provide its service exporters with more legal certainty and better access to foreign markets. It also wants to prevent potential discrimination against service providers from other countries.
All forms of service provision are covered in Swiss FTAs. This includes cross-border service provision and service provision by a foreign subsidiary (commercial presence) or by private individuals.
Last modification 09.09.2020