Switzerland/Great Britain: signature for an ambitious free trade agreement

Posted 29 April, 2022

Boris Johnson and Ignazio Cassis have initialed a kind of roadmap to deepen bilateral relations between the two countries.

Switzerland and Great Britain signed a joint declaration on the development of their bilateral partnership on the occasion of the visit to London on Thursday by the President of the Confederation, Ignazio Cassis. The Ticino man met Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

British officials want an ambitious free trade deal that boosts both economies and “shows the world what is possible between two like-minded democracies.”

An improved agreement with Switzerland is “a huge chance to liberalize trade”, according to Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Minister for International Trade. The President of the Confederation for his part wrote on Twitter that the two parties have agreed on an action plan that “will further strengthen our cooperation”.

Switzerland is the UK's 10th largest trading partner in the worldConversely, Great Britain ranks 8-th among Switzerland's trading partners (excluding precious metals).

 

Roadmap

 

Regarding the joint declaration signed Thursday morning, "it is a form of the roadmap to deepen our bilateral relations and which was approved by the Federal Council as a whole in mid-April", declared the President of the Confederation. Cassis.

There are four points on which Boris Johnson and Ignazio Cassis agreed to "build closer relations": trade, which will be the subject of an extended free trade agreement whose negotiation will start at the beginning of 2023, financial services which will give rise to an agreement whose conclusion is expected by the end of the year, the mobility of people and research.

“Although our history is different, we face the same challenges as the United Kingdom when it comes to stabilizing our relationship with the EU,” said the President of the Confederation. We have a clear interest in standing together and finding ways to strengthen each other in the face of the EU.”

 

Services financiers

 

“We both host important financial centers and it is therefore imperative that we find an agreement to exchange our financial services without obstacles,” he continued. The collaboration could go beyond what took place when the UK was part of the EU. “We are no longer stuck in the corset of the EU and that gives us more leeway to negotiate,” added the head of Swiss diplomacy.

Until Britain left the European Union in 2021, relations between Switzerland and London were essentially based on bilateral agreements signed with the EU. Switzerland then negotiated seven agreements with the British government, including the air transport agreement, the trade agreement, and the police cooperation agreement.

 

Lugano conference

 

Regarding the war in Ukraine, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson thanked Ignazio Cassis on Twitter for Switzerland's support for sanctions against Russia. The pair also discussed how the UK and Switzerland can keep the financial pressure on Russia.

At the microphone of the Italian Swiss radio and television (RSI), Ignazio Cassis specified that Great Britain is committed to taking part in the Conference on the reforms in Ukraine in Lugano (TI). Either Prime Minister Boris Johnson will attend or he will send a high-level delegation.

Switzerland will host the fifth Ukraine Reform Conference in Lugano on 4 and 5 July. The meeting is organized jointly with Kyiv. The name of the conference changed due to the war between the country and Russia. It becomes a conference on the reconstruction of Ukraine, added the head of Swiss diplomacy, after his meeting in Downing Street with the British Prime Minister.

 

Received by the sovereign

 

The Swiss President also met with Foreign Minister Elizabeth Truss. Finally, he was received by Queen Elizabeth II. Mr. Cassis said he was “very honored”, he tweeted. “This mark of friendship between our countries symbolizes the close and long-standing ties between Switzerland and the United Kingdom”.

"I found her healthy, elegant, and warm," he said at a press conference. She asked me many questions about Switzerland and I congratulated her on her jubilee.”

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