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reads.

Cassis dreams of the free-trade Deal and gets only warm words

so Now it should fold. Finally. Really.

Ignazio Cassis proclaimed the message in the morning news on the Radio, SRF, just as on Switzerland, the sun came up. "Clearly" be the case, he said. Both sides, Switzerland and the USA, wished to have a free trade agreement. "The question is no longer if, but when we come forward."

Cassis now wants to "sit immediately" with Guy Parmelin and the Minister of economy, report on what he learned in Washington. Then it could go on and on. Never, it seems, in Bern, was the dream of the Deal with Donald Trump's real.

Perhaps the euphoria of Ignazio Cassis after his Meeting mitUS-Minister of foreign Affairs, Mike Pompeo, but also only the beginning of a disappointment. Some observers in Switzerland, even expect it. Due to various reasons. For several months, Switzerland is chomping persistently at the Trump-government. Again and again signaled magistrates and secretaries of state are willing to negotiate. Also, the Parliament moved in. Every few weeks, the Bernese officials flew, full of hope, across the Atlantic. But the results: skimmed. We are always ready for dialogue, always open, absolutely, it was called. Warm words, that's all.

Offset in Washington

the U.S. government is a lack of liability, is, at least know Johann Schneider-Ammann. At the beginning of December he travelled briefly committed to Washington for a conversation with the U.S. trade Robert Lightizer officer. The Meeting should be the launch of formal negotiations on a free trade agreement. That was the hope, widespread in the environment in front of the visiting journalists. The Federal house media should watch, if Schneider-Ammann, made the breakthrough. What a terrific end of his political career! What a Legacy!

the big Coup was nothing. Shortly before the agreed Meeting Lighthizer had to apologize. The boss had called him into the White house. Schneider-Ammann had to come to terms with Lighthizers Deputy Jeffrey Gerrish. He comforted himself with that, on the American side for "good will" taken care of, as he said later. Then he flew back home. Of his pension.

The history of disappointment that goes back even further. As the EU and the USA is still under the government of Barack Obama on the transatlantic free trade agreement TTIP, negotiated, feared Bern, against the EU to get competitors. Switzerland tried to have conversations. But the relationship with the Obama administration was negatively affected after the conflicts in the financial sector so that the efforts were unsuccessful.

Every couple of weeks, the Bernese officials flew full of hope, across the Atlantic. But the results: skimmed.

boost received the TRANS-Atlantic contacts with the office of Donald Trump. From different Departments could be heard in 2017 in Washington, many of the doors were suddenly open again for Switzerland. The reasons are complex and even for insiders is not always understandable. Sure The Trump-Crew appreciates Switzerland as a do direct investor in the United States. Also the local vocational education system pushes in North America growing interest.

A key role in the relationship between the two "sister republics" also plays to the conservative Thinktank Heritage. The top of people maintain close relations to Trumps Team, at the same time you are making publicly and behind the Scenes for a Deal between the United States and Switzerland. Last autumn, representatives from Heritage travelled to Bern, where they were received among others by Stefan Brupbacher, the then Secretary-General of the Department of Economic Affairs,. "There are very strong arguments for a free trade agreement," said Heritage founder Ed Feulner at the beginning of the year to this newspaper. He expect it in next time for more progress.

Hope Trumps Anti-EU Reflex

a Deal is Actually basically on the line of Donald Trump. He avoids multilateral agreements, relying instead on bilateral contracts. Probably because he believes that the United States can play to their Strengths, the better. Also, Trump needs in trade policy a success, to prove that he only acts in a protectionist manner. On the Swiss side, it is hoped that as a straightforward negotiating partner present. And that Trump would prepare a personal pleasure, a Deal with Switzerland to sign and let the EU hang.

in background interviews with insiders, this atmospheric-outweigh the political arguments, has a relatively banal reason. Economically, a free trade is possible the agreement between Switzerland and the United States. On the Swiss side, the tariffs in industrial trade are already very low. It goes after the Federal Council , to imports, the surcharges on Industry to 2022, even then, to fall. Stephen Legge, foreign trade expert at the University of St. Gallen, put it to the "trade newspaper", recently said: "Switzerland has the United States in terms of free trade simply nothing to offer – except the Opening-up of agriculture."

This, however, is very difficult. The recent free trade negotiations with the US failed in 2006, among other things, on the resistance of the Swiss farmers. Their Position has changed much since then. Even if the Federal Council would be able to obtain in the negotiations with the US government's generous exemptions for agriculture, it would be in the US Congress. There, the insistence of influential representatives, such as Republican Senator Chuck Grassley from the agriculture state of Iowa is rich in the fact that each new trade would have to gain the agreement of the us agricultural industry access to the market. Switzerland wants to bring any Deal to finish, she has to convince the Congress.

at Least on the Shortlist

But from the US perspective, Switzerland has anyway not a priority. The employees of the trade dispute with China and the renegotiations of the free trade zone were commissioned recently with the trade with Mexico and Canada absorbed. Also the talks with the EU continue to run, albeit slowly. In the next time the US wants to expand now, but apparently your focus. In negotiation circles the talk is of a Shortlist for a trade agreement that Switzerland was, together with Norway, India or the Philippines. Competition, also because of time and pressure. The time window for a Deal was on the American side, probably in 2019, open, believes it is on the Swiss side. Thereafter, the nächsteUS-election year, the block much.

As Ignazio Cassis reported that the good mood about free trade, turned to the US Ministry of foreign Affairs to the Public. Pompeo and Cassis had discussed the good and close economic relations between the United States and Switzerland, it is said in the media release of the State Department. Discussed you have also global issues, including Iran, Russia, China, and the need for reform in the multilateral institutions.

free trade, of negotiations, a Deal? Not A Word.

(editing Tamedia)

Created: 09.02.2019, 08:32 PM

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