SJCC Swiss-Japanese Chamber of Commerce
News / 2021

UK Announces CPTPP Expansion Phase – A New Opportunity for Swiss-Japanese Relations?

CPTPP in 2021

A European Perspective on the Trans-Pacific Partnership

February 24, 2021

The notification by the United Kingdom to begin the accession process to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) could transform this transpacific trade initiative into a global framework. Patrick Ziltener and Dominique Ursprung have published several analyses and argue that it is impossible for Switzerland to ignore this long-awaited multilateralization of a regional trade initiative.

On 16 December 2020, Ziltener and Ursprung published an article where they analyse the implications of an expanding CPTPP for Switzerland. A few days later, those ideas have been taken up in an article in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) “Trade policy: Should Switzerland be in Asia?”.

Swiss exporters lose market share in Japan

When on 1 February 2021, the UK applied to join the Pacific free trade area, the previous analysis has been updated and presented in Tokyo at a Webinar organised by the SCCIJ. A report and a recording were made available afterwards. The importance of an update of the increasingly outdated Japan-Switzerland FTEPA from 2009 is becoming apparent when looking at Swiss Cheese exports to Japan that already now suffer from intensified competition from the EU. In 2020, exports of Cheese from the EU to Japan have increased by 13%, while Swiss exports of Cheese have gone down by 12.9%. The effects of the EU-Japan EPA – in force since February 2019 – are already clearly visible – and this is likely only the beginning of the elimination of some of Switzerland’s competitive advantages in Japan.

Source: Swiss Federal Customs Administration

Inspired by different feedback and the emergence of new reports on the expansion of CPTPP, a new consolidated version of the original analysis was published in a background article via the NZZ on 16 February 2021. A PDF of this article is now available here below.

Ursprung and Ziltener concluded that the current, rather unusual constellation with CPTPP and major powers like the US or China still outside of it, but potentially joining it later, should be understood for what it effectively is for an open economy like Switzerland: a historic opportunity.