In 2004, a number of other sectoral agreements (known as “bilateral II”) include Switzerland`s participation in Schengen and Dublin, as well as agreements on the taxation of savings income, processed agricultural products, statistics, the fight against fraud, participation in the EU and Environment Agency media programme. In addition to the EFTA Agreement and the Free Trade Agreement with the European Union, Switzerland currently has a network of 30 free trade agreements with 40 partners outside the EU and new agreements are being negotiated. Application in the field of SMEs Often, free trade agreements and declarations of origin of exporting companies are not given sufficient attention. To determine the country of origin, coordination is required between the company`s management, export department, purchasing, quality assurance, logistics and finance. For example, if purchases change supplier due to lower prices (Switzerland, previous country of origin; new country of origin China/third country), the export department should also be informed, as this may change the country of origin. Changes in prices and output or exchange rate fluctuations may also affect the valuation of the country of origin. If the calculations are not regularly reviewed and erroneous declarations are thus made, this may result in the subsequent payment of customs duties and the imposition of substantial fines on companies. The Swiss federal government has recently made several substantial policy shifts, but specific agreements have been dealt with with the EU on the free movement of workers and areas of tax evasion within the Swiss banking system. This was the result of the first Swiss-EU summit in May 2004, at which nine bilateral agreements were signed.
Romano Prodi, former president of the European Commission, said the agreements “have brought Switzerland closer to Europe”. Joseph Deiss of the Federal Council said: “We may not be at the centre of Europe, but we are certainly at the heart of Europe.” . . .