September 28, 2018
From Switzerland: Federal Council for Administrative Assistance in Customs Area with U.S.
The Federal Council met on September 5, 2018 and observed the results of the consultation procedure on an administrative assistance agreement in the customs area with the U.S. On the condition that the Foreign Affairs Committees of the Federal Assembly agree, the Federal Council resolved that negotiations would continue.
The current draft agreement was reviewed by the Federal Council, which in its present form, is rejected or at least viewed critically by most business associations and seven cantons.
Despite criticism towards the agreement, the conclusion to continue with negotiations was led by the consideration of the importance of secure supply chains for the international movement of goods. The associated controls of these supply chains fall under agreements between the individual states on the mutual recognition of customs security measures, which provide for more controls that are straightforward. Both Switzerland and the U.S. are familiar with such measures (authorized economic operator or Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism).
Currently, there is no corresponding agreement between Switzerland and the U.S., which is not deemed necessary. However, from the U.S. standpoint, mutual recognition of customs security measures is only worth considering if there is also an administrative assistance agreement in the customs area. The importance of the Federal Council continuing negotiations on an administrative assistance agreement in the customs area is based on safeguarding the long-term possibility of talks on an agreement on the mutual recognition of customs security measures.