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Long negotiations Switzerland and Indonesia to sign free trade deal

palm oil

Swiss farmers, environment groups and some cantons had wanted palm oil to be excluded from any free trade deal. 

(Keystone)

A free trade agreement will be concluded between Switzerland and Indonesia by the end of the year. 

The two countries have agreed, Swiss Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann announced on Thursday on Swiss public radio SRF.

The agreement was reached after 17 rounds of negotiations during Thursday night. According to Economics Ministry, the joint declaration on the conclusion is planned for the EFTA Ministerial Conference in Geneva on November 23. The free trade agreement will be signed before the end of the year. 

The Economics Ministry referred to the accord as a "milestone in Swiss trade policy". 

"There are 260 million consumers there of which 40 million are middle class and are looking for quality products from the West,” said Schneider-Ammann on the radio. 

Thanks to the agreement, practically all customs duties on Swiss exports to Indonesia are to be abolished in the medium term. Indonesia's palm oil exports, that were the subject of recent discussions and debate, will benefit. According to the Economics Ministry, tariff discounts of 20 to 40 percent have been applied to palm oil and its derivatives. This would not endanger domestic oil seed production, said a government press release.


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