Concluded Bilateral Agreements

Within the framework of EFTA free trade agreements with third countries, Switzerland maintains preferential relationships in the sector of the services with the following countries (in alphabetical order): Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Georgia, the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC, which comprises of the following countries: United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar end Kuwait), Guatemala, Hong Kong, Mexico, Panama, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Ukraine, and partially with Canada and Peru. The main objective in these free trade agreements is for Switzerland to gain more advantageous treatment than granted in the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Beyond that, Switzerland has concluded a free trade agreement with China as well as a bilateral agreement on free trade and economic partnership with Japan, outside of the frame of the EFTA.

Basically, these agreements take over the dispositions of the GATS as well as the respective specific commitments, with added improvements . The same applies to the agreement with Mexico, though this one contains a separate chapter on financial services, which does not follow the GATS. A schedule of specific commitments is intended, which will base on a negative list (list of reservations). The same approach has been used for the agreements with Japan and Hong Kong.

There are structural differences between the agreements. Financial services are treated either in a separate chapter (Mexico, South Korea) or an annex (majority of the countries) or are not committed (Chile, but there is a mandate for negotiations). Telecommunications services are covered by the general Services Chapter (excepting Mexico), but they are complemented by specific dispositions in an annex (the majority of the countries) or in schedules of specific commitments in accordance with the GATS model (Costa Rica, Panama, China). The movement of natural persons is covered by a separate chapter (Japan), an annex (Columbia and the GCC member states) or without additional terms. Other annexes complete the services chapters for specific dispositions in certain domains, excepting China, where an annexe on trade in services (TISA) establishes additional horizontal dispositions and further ones, among others in the domain of the movement of natural persons and financial services. 

The following table contains information on the content of the concluded agreements:

As in the GATS, specific commitments are listed in an Annex (Schedule of Commitments). The Schedules of Commitments are structured by sector using the so-called W.120 classification of the WTO:

The definitions of single services sectors are based on the provisional UN Central Product Classification (CPC). Services are covered by Sections 5 to 9 of the CPC:


Weltkarte für Dienstleistungen
Red: EFTA partner countries of Switzerland
Green: Countries, with which Switzerland maintains preferential relationships in the services domain

Last modification 09.12.2016

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