Free trade agreements: How are companies using them?
As a follow-up to a study examining the utilization of free trade agreements ("Analyse zur Nutzung von Freihandelsabkommen") published by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) in August 2020, a further analysis was conducted in cooperation with the University of St. Gallen. The analysis examined the factors which influence whether companies avail themselves of the preferential tariffs granted under free trade agreements (FTAs) when importing goods into Switzerland.
This in-depth analysis confirms that smaller and larger companies use free trade agreements with equal frequency (savings rate of 88% and 87% on customs duties respectively). While companies with over 250 employees saved around CHF 728 million in customs duties in 2019 thanks to FTAs, the figure for SMEs was higher totaling CHF 1,134 million. Firms for which the number of employees is not known achieved a further CHF 221 million in customs duties savings. Across all companies, the savings rate (the proportion of potential customs duties savings that was actually achieved) is 84 percent.