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Japan-Switzerland FTEPA Needs to Be Renewed

Parliamentary Interpellation

"The Switzerland-Japan Free Trade Agreement Needs to Be Renewed"

Date
December 13th 2017

On 12 December 2017, National Councilor Elisabeth Schneider-Schneiter, President of the Parliamentary Friendship Group Switzerland-Japan, has submitted a Parliamentary Interpellation to the Federal Council asking for a review of the Agreement on Free Trade and Economic Partnership between Switzerland and Japan (JSFTEPA).

The original Text (in German) can be found on the webpage of the Swiss Parliament.

English Translation (by SJCC) of the Interpellation:

The Switzerland-Japan Free Trade Agreement Needs to Be Renewed

On 8 December 2017, the conclusion of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Japan and the European Union (EU) was announced. The Swiss-Japanese Parliamentary Group is concerned that Swiss companies might face stronger competition from the EU in the Japanese market in the foreseeable future.

Although Switzerland has been the only state in Europe to have an FTA with Japan since 2009, the more recent EU agreement means the disappearance of this competitive advantage: A further development of the bilateral FTA between Switzerland and Japan must therefore be pursued as soon as possible.

  1. In view of this new situation, what measures does the Swiss Federal Council plan to take to renew the 2009 Free Trade Agreement between Switzerland and Japan and allow Swiss companies a level of market access that will be at least equal to the access that companies from the EU will have in future?
  2. What timeframe does the Swiss Federal Council consider realistic for starting negotiations with Japan?

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Background

The Japan-Switzerland Parliamentary League of Friendship from the Japanese House of Representatives exists already since 1988. Its counterpart in Switzerland was founded at the end of the anniversary year 2014, when 150 years of bilateral diplomatic relations were celebrated. Since 2014, the office of the SJCC also acts as secretariat of the Parliamentary Friendship Group Switzerland-Japan (スイス日本友好議員連盟), which includes 32 Members of the Federal Assembly.

The first meetings ever of both groups took place on 20 September 2016, when a delegation of the Japanese House of Representatives visited Switzerland. Following an official invitation from the Japanese House of Representatives, nine members of the Parliamentary Friendship Group Switzerland-Japan paid an official visit to Japan from 25 March to 1 April 2017.