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Free-trade conditions discussed

Switzerland is pressing ahead with preparations for a free-trade agreement with the European Union on agribusiness.

This content was published on April 8, 2008 - 12:51

The economics ministry has created a working party to come up with measures to support the industry and in particular farmers during the transition towards a new open market.

Its remit will be to decide on the structure, length and start of the transition and examine whether agricultural and state policies need to be adapted.

The working party, made up of 15 organisations representing the various Swiss agricultural sectors, workers and consumers, will present a report of their findings to the economics ministry before May 2009.

The cabinet agreed to adopt a mandate for negotiations with the EU in agribusiness last month.

The government said all parties needed to be ready and able to value their assets ahead of the move to an open market. Strengths in Swiss agribusiness such as quality, credibility and respect for the environment and wildlife would also need to be promoted.

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