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Switzerland

Switzerland

Switzerland's economic and trade relations with the EU are mainly governed through a series of bilateral agreements where Switzerland has agreed to take on certain aspects of EU legislation in exchange for accessing the EU's single market.

Trade picture

  • The EU is Switzerland's main trading partner, whereas Switzerland is part of the most important EU trading partners (4th).
  • Swiss merchandise exports to the EU are concentrated on a few sectors, particularly chemicals and medicinal products, machinery, instruments and watches.
  • Switzerland is a very important partner of the EU for trade in services, in particular for commercial services.
  • Developed countries are the main partners for Foreign Direct Investment in Switzerland. The United States is the main investor as well as the main destination, in terms of Foreign Direct Investment stock.

EU-Switzerland "trade in goods" statistics

Trade in goods 2011-2013, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2011 93.5 142.1 48.6
2012 105.9 133.5 27.6
2013 94.3 169.6 75.3

EU-Switzerland "trade in services" statistics

Trade in services 2010-2012, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2010 53.2 74.6 21.3
2011 56.9 81.2 24.3
2012 60.6 80.9 20.2

Foreign direct investment

Foreign direct investment 2012, € billions
Year Inward stocks Outward stocks Balance
2012 505.2 679.0 173.8

More statistics on Switzerland

EU and Switzerland

The cornerstone of EU-Swiss relations is the Free Trade Agreement of 1972.

As a consequence of the rejection of the EEA membership in 1992, Switzerland and the EU agreed on a package of seven sectoral agreements signed in 1999 (known in Switzerland as "Bilaterals I"). These include: free movement of persons, technical trade barriers, public procurement, agriculture and air and land transport. In addition, a scientific research agreement fully associated Switzerland into the EU's framework research programmes.

A further set of sectoral agreements was signed in 2004 (known as "Bilaterals II"), covering, inter alia, Switzerland's participation in Schengen and Dublin, and agreements on taxation of savings, processed agricultural products, statistics, combating fraud, participation in the EU Media Programme, the Environment Agency, and Swiss financial contributions to economic and social cohesion in the new EU Member States.

In 2010 an agreement was signed on Swiss participation in EU education, professional training and youth programmes.

In overall, around 100 bilateral agreements currently exist between the EU and Switzerland.

The on-going implementation of these agreements obliges Switzerland to take over relevant Community legislation in the covered sectors.

These bilateral agreements between the EU and Switzerland are currently managed through a structure of more than 15 joint committees.

Trading with Switzerland