Current portal location

Website content

Countries and regions



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

Trade picture

  • The EU is Switzerland's main trading partner, whereas Switzerland is the EU's third trading partner after the USA and China.
  • Swiss merchandise exports to the EU are concentrated on a few sectors, particularly chemicals/pharma 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.

Both the EU and Switzerland are among each other's top destinations for foreign investment.

EU-Switzerland: Trade in goods

Trade in goods 2015-2017, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2015 102.4 150.5 48.2
2016 121.7 142.3 20.5
2017 110.4 150.8 40.4

EU-Switzerland: Trade in services

Trade in services 2014-2016, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2014 63.3 107.7 44.4
2015 72.6 114.5 41.8
2016 94.1 115.0 20.9

EU-Switzerland: Foreign direct investment

Foreign direct investment 2016, € billions
Year Inward stocks Outward stocks Balance
2016 767.0 976.7 209.8

Date of retrieval: 16/04/2018

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 and the Environment Agency.

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

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

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

These bilateral agreements between the EU and Switzerland are currently managed through approximately 20 joint committees.

As a consequence of its partial integration in the EU's single market, Switzerland pays a financial contribution to economic and social cohesion in the new EU Member States.

Trading with Switzerland