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Parliament tackles reform of trade barriers

The Senate has agreed in principle to abolish technical trade barriers for products licensed in European Union countries.

However, senators want to maintain the Cassis de Dijon rule for foodstuffs and nearly 20 other products.

The reform will help lower prices for consumer goods and savings of about SFr2 billion ($1.7 billion) a year, according to the government.

Economics Minister Doris Leuthard said the move would boost competition, increase the range of products and help harmonise regulations between the EU and non-EU member Switzerland.

There are concerns that the unilateral application of the Cassis de Dijon rule could complicate negotiations on a free trade agreement on agriculture.

The other parliamentary chamber, the House of Representatives, will discuss the reform later in the year.


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