The section on investment grants investors from one partner country the right to set up or acquire a company in the other country, essentially under the same terms as investors from that country. The corresponding obligations for the various service sectors can be found under the “commercial presence” form of service provision in the chapter on trade in services. Investment protection is generally regulated in bilateral investment protection agreements and not in FTAs.
Internationally active investors are dependent on the most stable, secure and predictable framework conditions possible for their often very long-term investments. When making investment decisions, companies take into account not only market size, infrastructure, etc., but also the additional legal security provided by international treaties (investment protection agreements, FTAs, double taxation agreements). Trade and investment are closely linked. Lower tariffs in a free trade partner state also increase Switzerland's attractiveness as an investment location. Within the framework of global value chains and competitiveness, it is also of interest to Swiss companies to be able to produce in other countries (at least parts of their production). In addition to favourable conditions for trade, Switzerland is therefore also very interested in conditions for investment. Switzerland is one of the ten countries in the world with the largest stocks of direct investments abroad (IMF/Coordinated Direct Investment Survey data). Swiss-controlled subsidiaries employ over 2 million people abroad (SNB/direct investment data). At the same time, Switzerland is among the ten largest recipients of foreign direct investment (IMF/CDIS data). Foreign companies employ over 1 million people in Switzerland (FSO data/Statistics of enterprise groups STAGRE).
FAQs on investment
In general, Switzerland aims to negotiate market access for investments in all new FTAs. OECD countries already have such market access commitments for investments within the framework of the OECD liberalisation codes, but the enforceability of the commitments in FTAs (discussions in the Joint Committee, arbitration) is better than under the OECD commitments. The protection of investments made (post-market-access phase) is regulated in investment protection agreements.
There is a lack of general rules of international law for the non-services sectors (manufacturing, agriculture, mining, energy production), such as the WTO rules on establishment in services sectors. Such obligations are therefore negotiated in the FTA Investment Chapter.
Internationally active investors depend on stable and predictable framework conditions for their long-term investments in other countries. The treaty obligation of non-discrimination in establishment (takeovers of companies, establishment of companies) provides investors with such additional legal security.
Last modification 19.10.2020