UK, Switzerland sign post-Brexit trade deal

Photo: EPA Swiss Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin (C), British Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox (L) and Liechtenstein's FM Aurelia Frick (R), Bern, 11 February.

The continuation of economic and trade relations between Switzerland and the United Kingdom after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU (Brexit) is assured, Swiss government said in a statement after Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin and the British Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox signed a bilateral trade agreement in Bern on Monday.

It will guarantee the continuation of the economic and commercial rights and obligations arising from the agreements between Switzerland and the EU. The agreement also applies to Liechtenstein.

If London and Brussels manage to reach a deal for an orderly Brexit, the bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the EU will continue to apply to Britain until the end of the transition period, the statement said. But in the case of a "no-deal" Brexit, those agreements will no longer apply to Swiss-British relations, and the new bilateral trade agreement between the two countries will kick in. "Should the UK leave the EU on 29 March without a deal, the agreement will come into effect on a provisional basis from 30 March 2019," the government statement said.

The UK is currently one of Switzerland’s major economic partners. In 2017, it was the sixth most important export market for Swiss goods and the eighth most important import market . Switzerland is the UK’s fifth main export partner outside of the EU (after the US, China, Hong Kong and UAE). The UK was the fifth most important destination country for Swiss direct investments in 2017, while Switzerland was the ninth most attractive destination country for UK investments.


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