Swiss-EU relations in the field of trade in services
Switzerland and the European Union (EU) have very close ties in trade in services. Switzerland is the EU's third largest trading partner in services, behind the United Kingdom, the USA and ahead of China. For Switzerland, the EU is the most important trading partner for services.
Trade relations between Switzerland and the EU in services are currently covered in international treaties by the GATS, the Agreement concerning direct insurance and the Bilateral Agreements I (free movement of persons, air transport and land transport).
The Convention establishing the European Free Trade Association (EFTA)
Switzerland has a preferential relationship in the services sector with its three EFTA partners Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. This preferential relationship is established within the framework of the EFTA Convention, the consolidated version of which, in accordance with the Vaduz Agreement of 21 June 2001, entered into force on 1 June 2002.
Article 29 of the Convention provides for the prohibition of any restriction on the right to supply services by a service supplier from an EFTA country within the territory of another EFTA country. Exemptions to this principle are set out in Annexes L to O of the Convention. Article 20 and its Annex K deal more specifically with the supply of services by a natural person.