Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin visited London on 14 June 2023 to meet his British counterpart, Secretary of State for Business and Trade Kemi Badenoch, for the signing of an agreement between Switzerland and the UK on the recognition of professional qualifications.
For Switzerland, this is the second such agreement signed with a partner outside the EU, the first one being the agreement signed with Quebec in 2022.
Co-operation between Switzerland and the UK on the recognition of professional qualifications began over twenty years ago. Initially, this was through the Swiss-EU Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP). After the UK withdrew from the European Union, and by extension from the AFMP, Switzerland and the UK took steps to safeguard the rights of their respective citizens. The resulting Swiss-UK bilateral agreement provides for a transitional period up to the end of 2024.
The new agreement will enable citizens of the UK and Switzerland to take up employment in regulated professional activities from 2025 onwards. Swiss professionals and companies will benefit from the agreement as it will enable them to continue offering their services in the United Kingdom.
During his visit, Federal Councillor Parmelin also attended an event at the Embassy to mark the 20th anniversary of the Swiss Business Hub UK + Ireland (SBH UK+I), during which time they have actively and continually fostered the strong trade relationship between Switzerland, the UK and Ireland.
More than 20 British and Irish companies have successfully set up in Switzerland with the support of the SBH UK+I and around 300 export mandates to the UK and Ireland from Switzerland have been conducted. Swiss precision engineering, pharmaceuticals, and financial services have all found a receptive market in the UK and Ireland, while Switzerland as a hub for innovation has attracted significant direct investment from the UK and Ireland. This investment has fuelled the growth of various sectors in Switzerland, including technology, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and finance.
At the event, Federal Councillor Parmelin was joined by International Trade Minister Nigel Huddleston to celebrate the flourishing trade relationship between our nations, which has created major opportunities for businesses on both sides and demonstrates the profound impact of co-operation in an interconnected world. A Memorandum of Understanding on Co-operation on Overseas Direct Investment (ODI) was also signed between the respective representatives of Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE) and the Department for Business and Trade (DBT).