EU exporters of processed agricultural products can now take advantage of easier access to Switzerland and vice versa.

Products exported from the EU to Switzerland will not receive any export refunds. On the Swiss side, agricultural levies and export refunds will be substantially reduced. Exports and imports of sugar-containing products are totally liberalised on both sides. Likewise, no agricultural levies will be payable on products imported from Switzerland into the EU.

These new trade rules are part of the bilateral agreements between the EU and Switzerland signed on 26 October 2004. For the time being, the agreement applies provisionally; however, the European Community has already taken all decisions necessary for ratification.

The food processing industry is the third biggest EU industry employing some 2.7 million people with more than 26,000 companies across the EU. More than 70% of the agricultural goods produced in the EU are made into food industry products. The most important destinations for exports are the US, Japan, Switzerland, Russia, Canada and Norway.

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