SJCC Swiss-Japanese Chamber of Commerce
News / 2021

Switzerland’s lack of vision in foreign economic policy

No Progress

Inertia dominates the bilateral economic relations

October 15, 2021

On 13 October 2021, Avenir Suisse has published a report about the current state of Switzerland’s foreign economic policy. It concludes that not much has been achieved in the last five years when it comes to concluding new free trade agreements or updating existing one.

The Free Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement between Switzerland and Japan (JSFTEPA), in force since 2009, is no exception to this lack of progress. Since 2016, the SJCC and the parliamentary group Switzerland-Japan warn regulalry of the danger of discrimination for Swiss companies in Japan given the better agreement that the European Union has negotiated and put in force in February 2019. Despite ample evidence that Swiss companies already suffer from this discrimination in Japan, no progress can be observed to start talks about an update of the increasingly outdated FTEPA from 2009.

Source: Swiss Federal Customs Administration
Update of the FTEPA no prirotiy for Japan

On Japan, the eighth most important partner for Switzerland with a trade volume of 2.1%, Avenir Suisse author Patrick Dümmler notes that, “the bilateral free trade agreement of 2009 no longer fully meets the needs of businesses, but updating it is proving difficult and does not seem to be a priority on the Japanese side.”

The analysis by Avenir Suisse is available here.