Switzerland and Britain signed a joint statement on the development of their bilateral partnership on the occasion of Thursday’s visit to London by the president of the confederation, Ignazio Cassis. The Ticino man met Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The British authorities want an ambitious free trade agreement that will boost both economies and “show the world what is possible between two like-minded democracies”.
An improved deal with Switzerland is “a huge opportunity to liberalize trade,” said Anne-Marie Trevelyan, international trade minister. The president of the confederation, for his part, wrote on Twitter that the two sides have agreed on an action plan that “will further strengthen our cooperation”.
Switzerland is the UK’s 10th largest trading partner in the world. Conversely, Britain ranks 8th among Switzerland’s trading partners (excluding precious metals).
Regarding the joint statement signed on Thursday morning, “it is a kind of road map to deepen our bilateral relations and which was approved by the Federal Council as a whole in mid-April,” said the president of the Confederation Cassis.
There are four points on which Boris Johnson and Ignazio Cassis have agreed to “build closer relations”: trade, which will be the subject of a comprehensive free trade agreement with negotiations to begin in early 2023, financial services which will give rise to an agreement whose the closure by the end of the year is expected, the mobility of people and research.
“Although our history is different, we face the same challenges as the UK when it comes to stabilizing our relationship with the EU,” said the confederation president. We have a clear interest in forming a common front and finding ways to strengthen each other against the EU.’
“We are both hosts to major financial centers and it is therefore imperative that we reach an agreement to exchange our financial services unimpeded,” he continued. The cooperation could go beyond what happened when the UK was part of the EU. “We are no longer stuck in the EU corset and this gives us more leeway to negotiate,” added the head of Swiss diplomacy.
Until Britain left the European Union in 2021, relations between Switzerland and London were essentially based on bilateral agreements with the EU. Switzerland subsequently negotiated seven agreements with the British government, including the Air Transport Agreement, the Trade Agreement and the Police Cooperation Agreement.
Lugano . Conference
Regarding the war in Ukraine, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson thanked Ignazio Cassis on Twitter for Switzerland’s support for sanctions against Russia. The pair also discussed how the UK and Switzerland can keep the financial pressure on Russia.
Speaking into the microphone of the Italo-Swiss Radio and Television (RSI), Ignazio Cassis announced that Britain has committed itself to participate in the conference on reforms in Ukraine in Lugano (TI). Either Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be in attendance or he will send a high-level delegation.
Switzerland will host the fifth conference on Ukraine’s reforms in Lugano on July 4-5. The meeting is organized jointly with Kiev. The conference’s name is changing due to the war between the country and Russia. It will be a conference on the reconstruction of Ukraine, the head of Swiss diplomacy added, after his Downing Street meeting with the British prime minister.
Received by the Sovereign
The Swiss president also met with Foreign Minister Elizabeth Truss. Finally, he was received by Queen Elizabeth II. Mr Cassis said he was “very honoured,” he tweeted. “This sign of friendship between our countries symbolizes the close and long-lasting ties between Switzerland and the United Kingdom.”
“I found her healthy, elegant and warm,” he said at a news conference. She asked me a lot of questions about Switzerland and I congratulated her on her anniversary.’