Sustainable development

Within the framework of a coherent foreign economic policy, Switzerland aims to conclude FTAs that offer opportunities for sustainable growth, both in Switzerland and in its partner countries. In order to achieve this goal, when negotiating new FTAs and revising existing ones, Switzerland is committed to including specific provisions on trade and sustainable development. These provisions refer to the obligations of the contracting parties in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations. They establish a common frame of reference and the contracting parties undertake to respect this frame of reference in their preferential economic relations in such a way that the economic objectives pursued by the FTAs are consistent with the objectives of the contracting parties in the field of environmental protection and labour rights.

he clauses include, inter alia, a commitment to respect and effectively implement Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) and International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions ratified by the contracting parties. Switzerland and its EFTA partners have revised the model chapter on sustainability in 2019. New provisions have been developed on sustainable management of forest resources and fish stocks, trade and biodiversity, trade and climate change, inclusive trade and corporate social responsibility (CSR). The approach to dispute settlement has also been strengthened. The new mechanism allows parties to call on a panel of independent experts to help resolve problems that the traditional consultations have not been able to.

FAQs on sustainable development

Specialist staff
Last modification 06.10.2020

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