Wirtschaftsverband Chemie Pharma Life Sciences

Swiss innovation needs the free movement of persons

Swiss voters will vote on the termination initiative on 27 September 2020. This initiative puts the innovative capability of our future-oriented industries at great risk, thus weakening Switzerland's position as a business centre. scienceindustries therefore decisively rejects this initiative.


The free movement of persons as regulated by the Bilateral I agreements with the EU is of cardinal importance for the research- and export-focused industries in Switzerland. The restriction initiative explicitly demands the termination of the agreement on the free movement of persons (AFMP) with the European Union if an amicable revocation cannot be agreed within 12 months. The unilateral termination of this agreement would lead to the cancellation of all Bilateral I agreements with the EU.

The cancellation of the Bilateral I agreements would be a disaster for the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, which is Switzerland’s biggest exporter and generates a volume of some 104 billion francs. The EU is the most important trading partner of our member companies. Around half of the exports of our industries are destined for the EU. The Bilateral I agreements are not only a prerequisite for regulated access to the EU domestic market, but also an important locational factor for our member companies.

The agreement on the free movement of persons, for example, ensures Switzerland's access to qualified European workers, which is of material importance for our research-focused industry needing highly qualified staff. Among the other Bilateral I agreements that would be cancelled if the initiative is approved, the mutual recognition agreement (MRA) and the research agreement are particularly important to the members of scienceindustries. The MRA enables rapid access to the EU market and the recognition of inspections reduces the administrative red tape for our chemical and pharmaceutical companies.

The cancellation but also just the suspension of this agreement would cause considerable extra work and expenses for these companies. Without the Bilateral I agreements, Switzerland’s future participation in European framework programmes for research (Horizon Europe) will also be at risk.

Giving up the tried and tested without having an equivalent alternative to the Bilateral I agreements is reckless! scienceindustries therefore decisively rejects the termination initiative.


Newsletter subscription

Quarterly Newsletter


Foreign trade statistics chemistry pharma life science

Further analyzes

Export Chemicals Pharma Life Sciences Switzerland by region

Further analyzes