Following the rejection of EEA membership in 1992, Switzerland and the EU agreed on a set of seven sectoral agreements signed in 1999 (called “bilateral I” in Switzerland). These include the free movement of people, technical barriers to trade, public procurement, agriculture and air and land transport. In addition, a scientific agreement on research has fully integrated Switzerland into the EU`s research framework programmes. Content of agreements The essential element of each agreement is trade in goods (including tariff reductions and other trade restrictions). They regulate trade in industrial products (SH chapters 25-97), fish and processed agricultural products. Trade in unprocessed agricultural products is generally governed by separate bilateral agricultural agreements. There are currently more than 100 bilateral agreements between the EU and Switzerland. In addition to trade in goods, the new agreements often address other aspects, including the protection of intellectual property rights, trade in services, investment, public procurement and technical regulations. These are so-called “second generation agreements.” Switzerland has close relations with the EU not only economically, but also politically and culturally. In total, more than 120 bilateral agreements allow Switzerland access to the EU internal market and allow Switzerland to be linked to the EU in a similar sectoral way.
Switzerland`s economic and trade relations with the EU are mainly governed by a series of bilateral agreements in which Switzerland has agreed to adopt certain aspects of EU legislation in exchange for access to part of the EU internal market. An approved exporter may, in all agreements, submit invoice declarations in all agreements, regardless of the value of the lot. These should not be signed by hand. The exporter must obtain the authorization of the relevant district customs office; this authorization is granted on the condition that the applicant guarantees that he is complying with the country of origin provisions and that he has submitted correct country of origin declarations in the past. For more information: SCA – Licensed exporters. The ongoing implementation of these agreements obliges Switzerland to adopt relevant EU legislation in the covered sectors. Most Swiss agreements are concluded under the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). In addition, Switzerland also has the right to negotiate free trade agreements without efTA participation, as has been the case, for example, with China, Japan and the Faroe Islands.
Free trade agreements are international treaties between two parties (countries or transnational groups) to ensure free trade. For example, ongoing negotiations on the electricity agreement and in the areas of public health and food security can be expected to be halted. In addition, in addition to the non-recognition of the equivalence of the Swiss stock exchange, the EU could respond with other retaliatory measures such as Switzerland`s exclusion from the continuation of the EU`s Horizon 2021 research programme. On 22 December 2016, Switzerland and the EU reached an agreement under which a new Swiss law (in response to the referendum) would require Swiss employers to hire job seekers (Swiss nationals or not registered in Swiss employment agencies) while observing the free movement of EU citizens to Switzerland so that they can work there.  Switzerland is a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and has participated in the negotiations of the European Economic Area (EEA) agreement with the European Union.