Business Association Chemistry Pharma Life Sciences
Free trade agreements – a path for sustainability

Free trade agreements – a path for sustainability

The export heavyweights Chemistry Pharma Life Sciences are dependent on open markets. Free trade agreements are therefore of key importance for our members. The free trade agreement with Indonesia is very important economically and facilitates a dialogue about sustainable development.


The success of the Swiss chemical, pharmaceutical and life sciences industries is based to a large extent on the worldwide marketing of their innovative products. More than 98% of their products are exported. In 2020, our member companies accounted for some 51% of Switzerland’s total exports. As part of the largest export industry in Switzerland, they are globally reliant on access to markets, the strongest possible and enforceable protection of intellectual property, and the effective protection of their direct investments. The chemical, pharma and life sciences industries are committed to all three dimensions of sustainable development (economic, ecological and social). Thanks to its wealth-increasing effects, the best way to promote sustainable development is to ensure the freest possible trade between nations. scienceindustries therefore supports the efforts of the Swiss government to build a network of free trade agreements (within EFTA or bilaterally).

The free trade agreement with Indonesia serves as an example of how to use a good agreement to successfully achieve modern sustainability goals. The sustainability clauses in the EFTA free trade agreements include, among others, the commitment to observe and implement the contractual parties’ international obligations with regard to the protection of the environment, labour standards, sustainable forestry and fishing practices, the advancement of decent work for all and the distribution and use of sustainability certificates in order to promote environmentally benign production methods and social standards. Reference is also made to the most important international instruments in the field of human rights and the principles of corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Free trade agreements allow developing and emerging market countries to increasingly offer their own products at competitive conditions (thanks to reduced customs tariffs and trade barriers, among others) in the market of the free trade partner. Easier market access leads to more jobs and more income for workers, thus improving the economic situation. The resulting gain in prosperity and increase in living standards not only improve educational opportunities, but also ensure better prospects for the future. Resources are freed up that can be invested in sustainable development.  Free trade agreements also provide an important platform for dialogue where these topics can be discussed and implemented.

Indonesia with its 267 million inhabitants, growing middle class, stable political situation and huge need for infrastructure investments is already an important partner for Swiss exporters and will continue to gain in importance.

scienceindustries supports the free trade agreement with Indonesia as it strengthens Switzerland as a centre of research, production and business, contains far-reaching sustainability provisions and supports the creation of a platform for dialogue about sustainability issues.


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