Switzerland's Investment Treaty Policy

Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (BITs)

Switzerland has signed over 120 BITs. According to UNCTAD, Switzerland has the world's third largest network of such agreements after Germany and China. The conclusion of BITs improve the legal security, the investment climate and thus enhance the attractiveness as a location for international investments.

The purpose of BITs is to afford international law protection from non-commercial risks associated with investments made by Swiss nationals and Swiss-based companies in partner countries - and, inversely, investments made by the nationals and companies of partner countries in Switzerland. Such risks include state discrimination against foreign investors in favour of local ones, unlawful expropriation or unjustified restrictions on payments and capital flows. To these provisions have been added obligations on the part of the contracting countries to treat investments made by investors in the other signatory country ‘fairly and equitably‘. In addition, contracting countries are required to respect state commitments made to specific investors in relation to corresponding investments.

Message of the Federal Counsil to the Approval of the BIT concluded between Switzerland and Georgia (PDF, 106 kB, 24.02.2016)Excerpt from the Foreign Economy Report 2014, through which the Agreement has been approved by the Parliament.

Switzerland has continuously been developing its BITs practice. In 2012 a Working Group drafted provisions in order to strengthen the coherence with the objectives of sustainable development. Since 2014, Switzerland has used a provision making the new UNCITRAL Transparency Rules, in force since 1 April 2014, applicable to all Investor-State arbitrations. The BIT between Switzerland and Georgia, in force since 17 April 2015. is the first agreement which contains these provisions. At the beginning of 2015 an internal Working Group was formed in order to review Switzerland’s BITs practice and to take into account the latest developments in the field of investment protection. This Working Group published its final report on 7 March 2016.

Specialist staff
Last modification 20.04.2016

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