At the Forum for Swiss Foreign Trade and Investment in Zurich on 27 March 2019, Swiss Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin had his first public speech on trade policy issues.
“Switzerland must not slip behind the EU’s active free trade policy“, stated Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin with reference to the entry into force of the EU-Japan EPA and the potential for discrimination for Swiss companies: “We must therefore be careful not to fall behind. Discrimination against competitors must be prevented. A standstill would mean retrogression.”
The head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER) continued with his analysis of the current challenge in Swiss-Japanese relations:
“Our trade agreement with Japan is ten years old, and while it is a very sound agreement, it contains less far-reaching liberalization in some respects than the more recent EU agreement. This is why Switzerland has been in contact with Japan for some time in order to initiate renegotiations. We want to eliminate areas where we are worse off, compared to the EU, which mainly lie in the agricultural sector. So far, however, Japan appears to have little interest in launching such a process.”
Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin concluded that it is therefore necessary to visit Japan this summer. He promised: “I will personally advocate for renegotiation” of the JSFTEPA from 2009.
To read the speech in full: https://www.wbf.admin.ch/wbf/de/home/dokumentation/nsb-news_list.msg-id-74474.html