- Danielle Wightman-Stone |
The UK and Switzerland have signed a trade continuity agreement that will see British businesses and consumers benefiting from continued trade with Switzerland after Brexit.
The news has been welcomed by business groups including the British Swiss Chamber of Commerce (BSCC) who say it will help to support jobs and ensure businesses can keep trading without disruption. With the International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox adding that it will “further strengthen the trading relationship” between the UK and Switzerland, which was worth 32.1 billion pounds in 2017.
The agreement simplifies trade and allows businesses to continue trading freely, without any additional tariffs, continuing the elimination of duties on the vast majority of goods traded between the UK and Switzerland.
This means that consumers in the UK will continue to benefit from more choice and lower prices on goods imported from Switzerland, such as clocks, watches, and pharmaceutical products.
The Department for International Trade notes that trading on these “preferential terms” rather than on World Trade Organisation terms will deliver “significant savings and help to safeguard British jobs”.
UK and Switzerland sign a trade continuity agreement, ensuring trade-free disruption after Brexit
International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox said in a statement: “Switzerland is one of the most valuable trading partners that we are seeking continuity for, accounting for more than 32 billion pounds worth of trade a year.
“This is of huge economic importance to UK businesses, ensuring continuity for 15,000 British exporters. Not only will this help to support jobs throughout the UK but it will also be a solid foundation for us to build an even stronger trading relationship with Switzerland as we leave the EU.”
Anne-Marie de Weck, president of the British-Swiss Chamber of Commerce added: “The BSCC welcomes the signing of the UK Government’s continuity trade agreement with Switzerland. It is imperative for our members, both British and Swiss businesses, that trade continues.
“Switzerland is the UK’s 7th largest export market, 3rd largest non-EU market, 8th largest foreign direct investor and 10th top destination for UK outward direct investment. It is paramount that the British and Swiss governments have secured the continuation of a huge trading relationship with this agreement.”
The UK is set to leave the European Union on March 29, 2019.