15 and 17 December 2004


Further multilateral market opening would provide greater advantages

The Swiss and Liechtenstein economies have shown differing trends in growth since the last joint review of their trade policies in 2000. Liechtenstein has grown rapidly with increasing employment and a diversification of its economy, while the Swiss economy is recovering from a prolonged period of stagnation, according to a Trade Policy Review report on Switzerland and Liechtenstein published by the WTO Secretariat.

Both Switzerland and Liechtenstein are heavily dependent on external trade. The main thrust for change in their trade policies has come from the bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the expanding European Union (EU) which have resulted in notable market liberalization between the two partners, and from Liechtenstein’s membership of the European Economic Area (EEA).

The report says that, in some areas, the pursuit of common regulations between Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the EU/EEA will facilitate trade with the rest of the world. However, it could also bias trade and investment flows and policies in a Eurocentric direction at the expense of other developed and developing countries. It is therefore important for the authorities of both countries to consider the discriminatory elements of the existing and new agreements, and the potentially greater advantages of a market opening on an MFN basis.

The report highlights that both countries, with common customs tariffs still entirely specific, have maintained generally liberal trade regimes for non-agricultural goods and services, while maintaining strong protection in agriculture and food processing.

The WTO report, along with a policy statement by the Government, will be the basis for the Trade Policy Review (TPR) by the Trade Policy Review Body of the WTO.

The following documents are available in MS Word format.


Note  back to top

Trade Policy Reviews are an exercise, mandated in the WTO agreements, in which member countries’ trade and related policies are examined and evaluated at regular intervals. Significant developments that may have an impact on the global trading system are also monitored. For each review, two documents are prepared: a policy statement by the government of the member under review, and a detailed report written independently by the WTO Secretariat. These two documents are then discussed by the WTO’s full membership in the Trade Policy Review Body (TPRB). These documents and the proceedings of the TPRB’s meetings are published shortly afterwards.

Print copies of previous TPR publications are available for sale from the WTO Secretariat, Centre William Rappard, 154 rue de Lausanne, 1211 Genève 21 and through the on-line bookshop.

The TPR publications are also available from our co-publisher Bernan Press, 4611-F Assembly Drive, Lanham, MD 20706-4391, United States.


Schedule of forthcoming reviews  back to top

Jamaica : 17 and 19 January 2005
Japan : 25 and 27 January 2005
Sierra Leone : 9 and 11 February 2005