Free Trade Agreements

Switzerland maintains preferential relations in the field of trade in services through 18 free trade agreements (FTAs).

These are the FTAs concluded within the framework of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) with the following partners (in alphabetical order): Central American States (Costa Rica, Guatemala and Panama), Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Georgia, Gulf Cooperation Council (United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait), Hong Kong, Indonesia, Mexico, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Turkey, Ukraine and to a certain extent Canada and Peru. In addition, Switzerland has concluded an FTA with China and one with Japan outside the framework of EFTA.

Weltkarte für Dienstleistungen

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

Switzerland's primary objective in these FTAs is to obtain more favourable treatment than the one granted under the WTO's General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and to eliminate potential discrimination for its exporters in comparison to competing exporters. Switzerland thus aims to guarantee enhanced legal certainty and better market access for all its exporters.

The FTAs, in principle, take over the provisions of the GATS and the related schedules of commitments as a basis for improvements. In the context of FTA negotiations, Switzerland generally proposes a standard text for a separate chapter on trade in services. This chapter is supplemented by annexes containing sectoral (e. g. financial services) or subject-specific (e. g. movement of natural persons) rules that are defined on a case-by-case basis according to the mutual commercial interests of the Parties.

Like under the GATS, specific market access commitments are generally inscribed in positive lists ("schedules of commitments"). The agreements with Hong Kong and Japan are the exception. Concessions are taken in the form of negative lists ("lists of reservations").

Switzerland is negotiating an FTA containing trade in services provisions within the framework of EFTA with the following partners: India, Malaysia, MERCOSUR (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay), Thailand, Vietnam, Belarus-Kazakhstan-Russia Customs Union, and Chile (financial services).

Last modification 01.07.2020

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