The International Trade Council (ITC) is optimistic about the commencement of talks on an enhanced free trade agreement between the United Kingdom and Switzerland, slated to begin on Monday. The British Trade Secretary, Kemi Badenoch, is set to meet Swiss Economy Minister, Guy Parmelin, in Bern, with an ambition to bolster exports in financial and professional services.
The negotiations aim to modernize the existing trade agreement between the two nations, an arrangement carried over from when the UK was a member of the European Union. Both countries see a significant opportunity to enhance their respective service economies by updating the current trading relationship.
"As two of the world's leading service economies, the potential benefits for both the UK and Switzerland are substantial," stated Badenoch. "By aligning our trading relationship with the capabilities of our companies in fields from finance and law to accounting and architecture, we can unlock considerable value."
The initial round of talks is slated for May 22, marking the start of a process that could greatly impact the nearly £53 billion ($66.9 billion) per year trade relationship between the two nations. The UK government cites Switzerland as Britain's tenth-largest trading partner.
The ITC highlights that the current agreement does not encompass services or digital trade—sectors where Britain believes it can leverage its strong financial sector and globally renowned legal system. In addition to these areas, the UK also aims to facilitate smoother cross-border movement for business travellers, stimulate increased private sector investment, and seek the removal of remaining Swiss tariffs on British goods, including red meat, baked goods, and chocolate.
The ITC supports and encourages these discussions, reinforcing the importance of expanding and modernising international trade agreements to reflect the evolving global business landscape. These negotiations between the UK and Switzerland are a testament to the continual advancement of international trade.
For more information about the ITC and its work, please visit our website or contact our office.