Brexit: exacerbated situation for Swiss exporters

By a narrow, but nevertheless decisive margin, the citizens of Great Britain voted to leave the EU on June 23. In fact, despite all the speculation, there is currently very little that can be said in terms of the specific consequences for trade relations with Great Britain.
Eyes on London’s financial district.
The British have voted to leave the EU.

Exit application to be issued shortly

The British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that he will submit the exit application soon after the referendum, although from a legal perspective the vote does not oblige him to do so. From this moment onwards the agreements with the EU provide for a maximum negotiation phase of two years. From this moment, the United Kingdom would automatically fall back on the status of the rules set by the World Trade Organization and would thus lose access to the European single market. Any package of agreements that the British government negotiates must subsequently be approved by all EU member states.

Significance for Swiss exports

As a promoter of exports, S-GE must ask the question of what impact Britain’s decision to exit the EU might have on Swiss exporters. This concerns, on the one hand, the conditions for Swiss companies exporting to Great Britain and, on the other, the economic constitution of the EU as our biggest market. We will keep you informed of relevant developments via all our communication channels. Direct information is provided by our specialist for the UK, Laura Grazioli.

Another currency shock?

The fact is that, at least in the short term, the Swiss franc will rise in value, which will further exacerbate the difficulties of the Swiss export economy after the last currency shock, and this applies not only to our trading relations with the UK, but also to the Eurozone. Outside of Europe, this will weaken the competitive position of exporters who face competition from Eurozone producers.

Status of trading relations between Switzerland and the UK

Switzerland and the UK have maintained close trading relations until now. In 2015, Switzerland exported goods and services to the value of around CHF 13.1 billion to the island state. Even greater, however, are imports to Switzerland at CHF 31 billion, whereby almost 80% (CHF 24.4 billion) is down to precious metals. The UK is thus the third most important market (including precious metals) and the sixth most important market (excluding precious metals). Switzerland is also a big buyer of services in the financial and insurance sector. With a value of GBP 12.6 billion, it is even bigger than all the BRIC states combined.

Webinar on Brexit votum, 01 of July from 11 am -12 am

Don’t miss the chance and secure yourself a place at the «Webinar Brexit – one week after the decision and now?» taking place on July 1, 2016 from 11 to 12 am. We will provide Swiss exporters with the latest relevant news on the expected next proceedings as well as with a platform to exchange views and tactical approaches to the new market situation from peer to peer.

More information on the topic:

Switzerland – UK bilateral relations

BBC info-graphic on the result of the Brexit vote


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