Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein have agreed on a free-trade deal with Indonesia that includes an agreement on subquotas for palm oil and its derivatives, with customs rebates of 20 percent to 40 percent so as not to harm domestic oilseed production. (Antara Photo/Syifa Yulinnas)

European Free Trade Association, Indonesia Clinch Deal in Principle: Swiss

BY :MICHAEL SHIELDS

NOVEMBER 02, 2018

Zurich. Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein have agreed on a free-trade deal in principle with Indonesia, with a formal signing due by year's end, lead negotiator Switzerland said on Thursday.

The four European nations make up the European Free Trade Association, or EFTA.

The agreement means that 98 percent of Swiss goods will be exempt from customs duties in the medium term, the government in Bern said in a statement.

Final technical details will be clarified in the next few weeks, in time for a joint declaration on the conclusion of negotiations on Nov. 23.

Switzerland's economy depends on exports, mostly to the European Union, with which it has a patchwork of sectoral accords granting it enhanced access to the single market. It also has a trade deal with China and is working on one with the United States.

The deal with Indonesia includes an agreement on subquotas for palm oil and its derivatives, with customs rebates of 20 percent to 40 percent so as not to harm domestic oilseed production, the statement said.

Given Swiss concerns on safeguarding sustainability, the accord contains provisions pertaining to trade and sustainable development including a requirement to implement multilateral environmental treaties and to respect the rights of workers.

It promotes sustainable management of forest resources, in particular by combating illegal logging, and contains obligations to ensure sustainable production and trade in palm oil and other vegetable oils, the government said.

Switzerland exported 437 million Swiss francs ($436 million) worth of goods to Indonesia in 2017, making it its 54th-biggest export market, official data show.

Reuters

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