Transparency and involvement of civil society

Civil society is regularly informed and consulted on current issues in the context of negotiations and implementation of free trade agreements. Relevant information as well as problems and proposals are introduced and discussed in various forums and topic-specific meetings.

Transparency in free trade negotiations

Together with the other EFTA States, Switzerland strives to strengthen transparency in the various stages of free trade negotiations. This already begins before the start of negotiations by informing the public about the EFTA States' negotiating objectives and providing a summary of EFTA's text proposals. Subsequently, the EFTA Secretariat publishes regular reports on the results of the individual negotiating rounds. After the conclusion of the negotiations, the EFTA States inform the public about the outcome by means of factsheets on the individual chapters and make the agreement texts publicly available immediately after the conclusion of the legal review. Finally, in the implementation phase, the EFTA States provide regular information on the content and results of meetings of the Joint Committees. The relevant information can be found on the EFTA website.

Meetings with stakeholders

Liaison Group WTO/FTA

Meetings with the Liaison Group are designed to provide information on current issues related to ongoing negotiations and the implementation of free trade agreements and WTO agreements and activities. These meetings take place twice a year and are attended by representatives from research, politics, business associations and non-governmental organisations.

Other forums with the civil society in which free trade agreements are discussed are the Commission for Economic Policy and theTripartite Federal Commission on ILO Affairs.

Meetings on specific issues

Roundtable: .At the invitation of SECO, the World Trade Institute WTI and the Centre for Development and Environment CDE of the University of Berne, a roundtable on trade, climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was held in Bern on 23 June 2021. Experts representing the academic community, the economy, civil society and the federal administration discussed trade-related measures to reduce green house gases with the objective to contribute to the public debate on this topic in Switzerland. The most important results of this discussion are described in this report (PDF, 887 kB, 27.10.2021). SECO will evaluate the event and, if the results are positive, consider organising other events in a similar format in the future.

Get involved

We are very keen to discuss the general public’s concerns and interests in connection with free trade agreements. You can contact us about a free trade agreement at any time.

Specialist staff
Last modification 28.10.2021

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