Studies on Border Protection


As part of the regular policy evaluation, the Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) has examined the relevance of the 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. For the first time, a comprehensive evaluation of the border protection has been carried out, consisting of two studies and a commenting paper. The authors examined the relevance of the border protection and its contribution to the fulfilment of Article 104 of the Federal Constitution. In addition, an independent assessment was carried out and the efficacy and efficiency of the tariff rate quotas were evaluated. The results show that – even though the system of border protection is at times effective – it is linked to high costs and inefficiencies. Therefore, the border protection can only partially contribute to fulfilling the goals of the Federal Constitution. While today’s system of border protection contributes to stable and high domestic prices, it also leads to inefficiencies, disincentives and the creation of benefits 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 the agricultural production and revenue. The authors of the study further conclude that the system of tariff rate quotas is highly complex as a whole and entails a considerable administrative effort. The authors also examined and discussed various alternatives, some of which aim at providing for better risk management.

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Last modification 15.08.2018

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