Switzerland, UK begin free trade talks

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Tax-news | 3 April 2017

Switzerland, UK begin free trade talks

by Ulrika Lomas

Talks on the post-Brexit relationship between Switzerland and the UK are underway, according to the Swiss Federal Council.

On March 31, Swiss Federal Councillor Johann N Schneider-Ammann met the UK’s Trade Secretary Liam Fox for a working meeting on Swiss-UK relations after the UK leaves the EU.

As part of the Federal Council’s "Mind the Gap" strategy, it will seek to reach a post-Brexit follow-up agreement with the UK as swiftly as possible. According to the Council, Fox said this was in the UK’s interests and that reaching such an arrangement with Switzerland is a priority. Schneider-Ammann and Fox agreed to meet on a regular basis.

The Federal Council explained that, as Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty provides for a two-year withdrawal negotiation period, the timeframe for preparing a follow-up regime for relations between Switzerland and the UK is tight. If possible, the Council would like this arrangement to be "more extensive than usual free trade relationships."

"Talks are already underway at expert level," it added.

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