Joseph Deiss and Rob Portman sign agreement launching the Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum between Switzerland and the United States

Berne, 25.05.2006 - Federal Councillor Joseph Deiss and the United States Trade Representative Rob Portman signed an agreement today in Washington launching the Swiss-US Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum. Susan Schwab, Mr Portman’s nominated successor, also took part in the signing ceremony. The Forum will serve to strengthen the economic ties uniting the two partners in both a flexible and targeted way.

The Forum is a new instrument in bilateral relations between Switzerland and the United States. It is designed to be an operational framework for solving specific problems and will enable the partners to:


  • take up initiatives on specific matters of trade or investment with a view to signing agreements or other arrangements
  • promote cooperation in the field of trade and investment
  • examine any issue that might be raised by one of the parties
  • consider any initiative that might break down the trade and investment barriers between the parties
  • resume exploratory discussions regarding a possible free trade agreement.

The Forum accords an important role to the private sector which will be actively involved in identifying topics to be addressed and in strengthening relations between the Swiss and US business sectors using the various means at their disposal. The Forum will be chaired by a representative of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs and an officer of the United States Trade Representative and will shortly be drawing up a work programme.

The Forum is the result of the close ties formed during exploratory discussions on a possible free trade agreement. Its launch was announced jointly by Federal Councillor Deiss and the US Trade Representative Rob Portman on 28 January 2006 at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

During his two-day visit, Federal Councillor Deiss will also meet with US government officials and business representatives.The United States and Switzerland continue to have a close economic relationship. In 2005, the United States was the second most important destination for Swiss exports after Germany. As far as investments are concerned, Switzerland is the sixth largest investor in the USA and the fourth most important destination for US investments abroad.

For further information on bilateral economic relations:

Address for enquiries

Christophe HANS,
Head of Communication,
tel. +41 (0)79 705 14 57


Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research