FHAL & GesA

Negotiations on increased market access for the entire agrifood value chain as well as on increased cooperation in the areas of food safety, product safety and public health between Switzerland and the EU have been going on since November 2008.

At first the negotiations progressed well. Three comprehensive rounds of negotiation were completed and on agricultural market access for example some important common denominators were found. The negotiations have come to a standstill since mid-2010 due to open institutional questions and domestic political resistance.

A free trade agreement between Switzerland and the EU for agricultural and food products (FHAL) would lead to increased market access for such products for both parties. An agreement would lower tariffs as well as reduce non-tariff barriers to trade, such as differences in regulations and import requirements. Apart from agricultural raw materials (e.g. milk, animals for slaughter) free trade should also cover the pre- and post-agricultural stages in the production chain, in other words, both means of production such as seeds or machinery as well as processed consumer products such as cheese or yoghurt.

A free-trade agreement with the EU would be a logical continuation of existing agricultural reforms with the aim of making Swiss agriculture more competitive at an international level. Opening up towards EU markets would result in lower production costs for Swiss farmers and the processing industry and at the same time improve access to EU markets. Swiss consumers would benefit from lower food prices. A positive effect on the domestic economy's growth is expected, with an estimated long-term rise in GDP of 0.5% or CHF 2 billion per year.

An opening of agricultural markets towards the EU would confront the Swiss agricultural sector with substantial challenges. In order to allow producers to take advantage of new market opportunities to adapt to the new market situation, a free trade agreement would be implemented in stages and accompanied by supportive measures.

Coordination of the negotiations
Directorate for European Affairs DEA

Agriculture


Federal Office for Agriculture FOAG 

Food safety


Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office FSVO

Product safety


State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO (in French)

Public health


Federal Office of Public Health FOPH

Further information

Last modification 20.12.2016

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