Switzerland and UK have signed a bilateral trade agreement to maintain economic and trade relations once UK has left the EU (Brexit).
Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin and the British Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox, signed the agreement in Bern on 11 February.
The new agreement was concluded as part of the Federal Council's ‘Mind the Gap' strategy. The Federal Council wishes to ensure that the existing mutual rights and obligations in its relationship with UK will continue to apply as far as possible after UK leaves the EU, and to expand them in certain areas.
An additional agreement between Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the Principality of Liechtenstein to extend the relevant provisions of the trade agreement to the territory of Liechtenstein under the Swiss-Liechtenstein Customs Union was also signed.
The signed agreement will come into force as soon as the Swiss/EU agreements cease to apply to relations between Switzerland and UK. If the Brexit transition period begins as planned on 30 March, the Swiss/EU agreements will continue to apply between Switzerland and UK. In this scenario, the agreement will serve as a basis for economic and trade relations between the two parties after the end of the transition period. And if UK leave the EU on 29 March without a deal, the agreement will come into effect on a provisional basis from 30 March 2019.