In a trade policy review (TPR), two reports on a country’s trade policy are drawn up, one by the WTO secretariat and one by the government of the country in question. These serve as a source of information and a basis for discussion. Interested countries can ask questions on the basis of these reports, the answers to which must be given in writing. A TPR concludes with a two-day hearing by the WTO, at which all interested WTO members can once again raise questions and the member whose trade policy is under review gets the opportunity to respond. This creates transparency and all countries have the chance to express their concerns relating to trade policy.
What it means for Switzerland
Switzerland is closely involved in the TPRs of other countries. The reports give a good overview of the trade-related developments in other members’ policies. By raising questions, Switzerland can also gain more information if a topic or trend is of relevance to Switzerland. Moreover, Switzerland uses TPRs as a basis for drawing up free trade agreements or to receive additional information from future trading partners. Switzerland’s own trade policy is reviewed in conjunction with Liechtenstein’s. The last time a review was conducted was in 2017, when particular criticism was voiced over the high tariffs and complex tariff quotas in agricultural policy. Largely, however, Switzerland is viewed as a reliable partner and is appreciated for its consistent support in the multilateral system.