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The 1972 Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Switzerland and the European Union created a free trade zone for industrial products between the two parties to the Agreement. Within this zone, industrial goods originating in the territory of the two parties are traded free of customs duty. The Agreement prohibits the setting of limits on the volume of goods that can be traded (quotas) as well as measures with the same effect such as customs duties. The FTA covers industrial products exclusively. Agricultural products are excluded. Special treatment is provided for processed agricultural products such as chocolate and pasta, which are both industrial and agricultural, where only the industrial processing part is exempt from customs duties.
The Free Trade Agreement is one of the main pillars of the trade relations between Switzerland and the EU. The Union and its 27 member states are by far Switzerland's most important trading partners: about 60% of Swiss exports go to the EU, and 80% of all Swiss imports come from the EU. Switzerland is the third-largest market for EU products and the Union's fourth most important trading partner behind the USA, China and Russia. In these intensive relations, the trade liberalisation brought about by the FTA is of great economic importance.
Status June 2012
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