The UK-Switzerland Agreement: What it Means for Trade and Beyond
On February 11th, 2019, the United Kingdom and Switzerland signed a trade agreement that would come into effect on January 1st, 2021. This deal is significant as it marks the first post-Brexit trade pact that the UK has agreed to with a non-EU country. So, what does the UK-Switzerland Agreement entail, and how will it affect both countries in the future?
The UK-Switzerland Agreement is a continuity agreement that will ensure that the two nations continue to trade as before after Brexit. With the UK leaving the European Union, it will no longer be part of the EU-Switzerland arrangements, which could have disrupted trade and economic ties. However, the UK-Switzerland Agreement will maintain existing trade rules and regulations, benefiting businesses and consumers on both sides.
The deal will essentially replicate the current agreement that Switzerland has with the EU, with a few changes to accommodate the UK`s departure. It covers trade in goods and services, intellectual property, public procurement, and more. Switzerland is the UK`s 7th largest trade partner worldwide, and this agreement will ensure that the trade volume of £32.1 billion between the two countries in 2019 will remain mostly unaffected.
One significant advantage of the UK-Switzerland Agreement is that it allows for businesses to continue trading without customs tariffs or quotas. This will be particularly beneficial for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that rely on exports to both markets. As Switzerland is known for its high-quality manufacturing and innovation, the UK can continue to benefit from this through easier access to Swiss manufacturers and their products.
The Agreement also includes provisions on services and investment, which will help to safeguard the interests of UK investors in Switzerland and Swiss investors in the UK. This is particularly important, given that Switzerland is the UK`s third largest foreign investor, with over 600 Swiss companies employing around 64,000 people in the UK.
Additionally, the UK-Switzerland Agreement has provisions regarding mutual recognition of professional qualifications, which will make it easier for professionals such as doctors, engineers, and architects to work in both countries. This will provide more opportunities for these professionals on both sides of the Channel.
Overall, the UK-Switzerland Agreement is good news for both countries as it provides much-needed stability and continuity in trade and investment relations. It also creates opportunities for future growth and collaboration in sectors such as technology, sustainable energy, and finance. As the UK continues to negotiate trade agreements with other countries outside of the EU, the UK-Switzerland Agreement will serve as a model for future deals.
In conclusion, the UK-Switzerland Agreement is a win-win for both countries, and it will provide a solid foundation for long-term trade and economic cooperation. By ensuring that existing trade rules and regulations are maintained, the agreement will enable businesses to trade with confidence and certainty. As the world faces the challenges posed by COVID-19 and Brexit, this agreement offers a glimpse of hope and cooperation for a brighter future.