As part of the regular policy evaluation, the Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) has examined the relevance of border protection and the efficacy and the efficiency of tariff-rate quotas (TRQ) as one of its instruments.
Switzerland has strong border protection for food and agricultural products. As part of the regular evaluation of agricultural policy measures based on Article 185 of the AgricA, a comprehensive evaluation of border protection has also been carried out in the studies described below. One study examines the relevance of border protection and its contribution to the fulfilment of the goals set out in Article 104 of the Federal Constitution. An independent assessment of this study is also included. Another study evaluates the efficacy and efficiency of the tariff-rate quotas. The results show that – even though the system of border protection is at times effective – it is linked to high costs and considerable inefficiencies. Border protection can therefore only partially contribute to fulfilling the goals of the Federal Constitution. While today’s system of border protection does contribute to stable and high domestic prices, it also leads to inefficiencies, disincentives and rent creation in the value-added chain. Only parts of the comparatively higher domestic consumer prices are transferred to producers. This shows the inefficiency of the system, whose sole purpose is to support agricultural production and revenue. The authors of the study further conclude that the system of tariff-rate quotas as a whole is highly complex and entails considerable administrative effort. The authors also examined and discussed various alternatives, some of which aim to improve risk management.
Last modification 11.08.2023