Foreign trade: Free trade agreements

Free trade agreements open up opportunities for the Swiss textiles and clothing industry to successfully operate on global markets. In view of its greatly fragmented value chain, efficient international networking is essential for the industry, and it needs to be reliable and secure, and take place without delay. With the aid of free trade agreements, tariff-based and non-tariff trade barriers can be eliminated, in order to assure the free flow of goods and services. Swiss Textiles is firmly in favour of free trade agreements. The advantage of eliminated trade barriers outweighs the resulting competitive pressure. However, it is not only the quantity of such agreements that is important, but also their quality. Existing agreements need to be updated and brought into line with the changed value chain in the textiles industry. This applies especially to rules of origin, plans to eliminate customs duty and administrative requirements. The structure of new agreements needs to be modern and liberal, and include the option of establishing ties with other free trade partners. On top of this, it is essential to ensure that free trade agreements regulate not only the exchange of goods, but also other issues such as intellectual property, public procurement, investment and services.