As an export nation Switzerland depends on excellent access to foreign markets. The main tools to ensure this are free trade agreements and the bilateral agreements.
International market access
In Switzerland, small and medium sized companies which are competing successfully on the global market, are not only to be found in urban centres, but also in remote alpine valleys. To enable business to thrive in the future, Swiss companies rely on an optimal framework conditions and the best possible access to foreign markets. However, these conditions are at stake because of emerging protectionist tendencies and overdue reforms in Switzerland. To continue the path of economic success, a comprehensive strategy for foreign economic is needed.
- Global focus of foreign economic policy: To diversify our foreign trade, trade relations with countries in the Americas and Asia need to be developed faster and more deeply. Accordingly, we call for FTAs with partners like the US, Mercosur, India or Indonesia.
- Fight against protectionism and dirigisme: Switzerland must oppose decisively to any new protectionist measures abroad and pursue its right, if necessary, by way of international arbitration.
- Foreign politics to focus on economic interests: Within the international organisations, Switzerland must consequently advocate for its own economic interests on a regional and multilateral level. This calls for close coordination between federal departments, sharing of human resources as well as their appropriate economic training in business matters.
- Faster adaption of domestic politics to external developments: Switzerland’s business environment must stay competitive and adjustable to external factors. Within the next five years, the administrative cost of our foreign economic should be massively reduced, industrial tariffs removed and basic infrastructure further expanded and improved. Both export promotion and agriculture policy should be reoriented and aligned to the needs of Swiss foreign trade.
- Seeing sustainability as an opportunity: Swiss economic diplomacy should make use of the excellent reputation of Swiss enterprises in the field of sustainability. At the same time, it must fight tendencies of protectionism in and outside of Switzerland under the pretext of sustainability.
Foreign economic strategy of Switzerland: requirements of the economy
Our wealth is mainly based on export and import performance of Switzerland’s economy. However, this success is not set in stone. On the contrary, it must be defended against emerging protectionism. In addition, political uncertainty in various markets and the rapid technological development is a challenge for national foreign economic policy.
Given these circumstances, how should Switzerland position itself and implement its foreign economic strategy? This position paper places concrete demands on Swiss policy makers to ensure the future wealth and prosperity of our country.
Voices from within the economy
Brexit remains a moving target for Swiss business
In view of the United Kingdom officially leaving the European Union on March 29th, 2019 the Brexit-clock is ticking louder and increasingly faster. On March 23rd, 2018 the European Council debated the crucial points of the Brexit negotiations, which right now are at a critical stage: time pressure is rising as well as the political risk, whereas the consequences of Brexit are still uncertain.
This also affects Swiss business. As the UK ranks among the five most important trading partners, good working relations with the UK and a clear legal framework between the two partners are essential for Swiss business. The new dossierpolitik on Brexit shows which trade relations currently exist between Switzerland and the UK and provides updates on the ongoing negotiations, political priorities as well as the possible repercussions Brexit has for the Swiss economy.