Exploratory trade talks with the United States

Switzerland has launched exploratory talks with the United States. The purpose of these talks is to determine whether the conditions are in place to open formal negotiations on a free trade agreement between the two countries.

These exchanges, which began last autumn, are being led by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), and are currently continuing in a constructive atmosphere. The commencement of formal negotiations will depend on the positions and expectations of both parties with respect to such an agreement. It is in the field of agriculture in particular that the exploratory phase must determine whether solutions can be found. Switzerland's aim is to continue these exchanges and to bring them to a conclusion.

Based on the outcome of these talks, the Federal Council will take a decision as to whether or not to open official negotiations.

As a reminder, the Federal Council originally initiated such talks in the course of 2005, but the plans were eventually abandoned. At the beginning of 2006, the Federal Council considered that the disadvantages of such an agreement outweighed the advantages. Since then, however, the situation has evolved, which is why a new attempt is now warranted.

The United States is Switzerland’s second largest trade partner after the European Union. In 2017, 15% of goods exported by Switzerland were destined for the USA, while 7% of Switzerland’s imports originated from there. The total volume of trade between the two countries amounted to almost CHF 120 billion.

With a capital stock of USD 309 billion, Switzerland is the 7th largest investor in the United States according to US rankings. Swiss companies employ nearly half a million people in the United States. Conversely, the United States is the third largest investor in Switzerland with direct investments amounting up to CHF 137 billion in 2017. Switzerland is home to the European headquarters of a number of American multinationals, and several major corporations have based research centres in Switzerland.

The scale of these ties explains the mutual interest on the part of Switzerland and the United States to further strengthen and deepen their economic and trade relations.

Last modification 09.11.2021

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