12 Feb 2019
Britain and Switzerland signed a deal on Monday to maintain successful trade relations in the case of a no-deal Brexit, The Local reports.
The bilateral trade agreement was signed by British international trade secretary Liam Fox and Swiss Economy Minister Guy Parmelin in Bern.
"This new agreement lays the foundations for the two parties to continue their sound economic and trade relations once the United Kingdom has left the EU," the Swiss government said in a statement.
Although Switzerland is not a member of the EU, its ties with Britain have depended on several bilateral agreements between Bern and the bloc.
The government statement explained that if a Brexit deal is reached, the bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the EU will proceed swiftly until Britain is officially out of the bloc. However, if a “no-deal” Brexit were to take place, the new bilateral trade agreements between the two countries will instead replace the current ones.
"Should the United Kingdom leave the EU on 29 March without a deal, the agreement will come into effect on a provisional basis from 30 March 2019," said the statement.
At the moment, Britain is one of Switzerland’s biggest trading partners, being its sixth largest export market. Meanwhile, Switzerland is Britain’s fifth greatest export partner outside the EU.
This agreement forms part of Switzerland’s ‘Mind the Gap’ strategy directed towards ensuring relations with Britain keep advancing properly.