Monday, June 20, 2005

Switzerland Wants Free Trade Pact With U.S.

Finally, the U.S. press picks up on the Swiss efforts to get a free trade agreement with the U.S. This is what the LA Times reports today:

ZURICH, Switzerland — Switzerland wants a free trade agreement with the U.S. to remove average import duties of 4.5 percent on Swiss processed goods, Finance Minister Hans-Rudolf Merz said Monday.

Such an agreement would create preferential access for Swiss exporters to one of their most important markets, Merz said, according to a text of his speech to the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce in Zurich.

"The preservation and improvement of the competitiveness of the Swiss economy require a review of the relations between Switzerland and the United States and an analysis of all options," Merz said.

The Finance Minister cited existing free trade agreements between the United States and other countries, saying that they were harming the competitiveness of Swiss industries such as chemicals and watch making. Switzerland is not a member of the 25-country European Union.


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