Free Trade Agreement with the United States: Switzerland is ready
Switzerland is ready to begin preliminary negotiations on a free trade agreement with the United States. This was said by Federal Councilor Guy Parmelin Friday after a meeting with his US counterpart Wilbur Ross at the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in Washington.
The US Trade Minister was open, but he did not hide the fact that his ministry is currently overloaded with negotiations with other states, Parmelin said. Such an agreement should also encompass as many sectors as possible, including intellectual property and agriculture, Wilbur Ross said.
This does not mean, however, that the agricultural sector would be immediately open to all imports, the Vaudois qualified. But there may be for example high quality products that may interest the Swiss consumer.
Since the meeting with the US Trade Representative Robert Lightizer this spring, Switzerland has the best direct contacts to resolve the technical issues related to the launch of preliminary discussions, according to Guy Parmelin.
If it turns out that the common points offer good prospects for a successful agreement, a request for a negotiating mandate will be submitted to Parliament, said the director of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs Marie- Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch.
"We have clearly said what we can do, it is now up to the US representatives to give us an answer," she added.
Guy Parmelin also discussed with Wilbur Ross steel and aluminum taxes that the US has increased. Two-thirds of the exemptions requested for products exported to this sector were accepted, "an encouraging result," commented the Federal Councilor.
A series of similar claims for other export goods are pending. Switzerland is also trying through the World Trade Organization to be exempted as a country from US taxes.
An attempt at a free trade agreement with the United States failed in 2006 due to too wide divergences, especially on agricultural and environmental issues. (AWP)