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SECO implements the law on tariff preferences and seeks new distribution channels in Europe by way of the Swiss Import Promotion Programme (SIPPO). This makes it easier for products from partner countries to access the EU and Swiss markets.
Trade between developing or transition countries and industrialised countries is still insufficiently developed. On the one hand, the partner countries lack the necessary production capacities, transport infrastructure and know-how. On the other hand, tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade make direct access to markets in the industrialised countries more difficult. Tariff-based restrictions include protective measures, which industrialised countries use to the benefit of domestic producers. Non-tariff barriers to trade can come from technical, social and ecological standards. Furthermore, companies in developing countries often lack the necessary contacts with importers in industrialised countries for the export of their goods.
Switzerland facilitates access to Swiss markets by granting preferential tariffs on products from developing and transition countries. It does this by way of its Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), designed and implemented under SECO's management.
In addition, SECO runs programmes for promoting imports to Switzerland and the EU. The easing of market entry for products from disadvantaged countries contributes significantly to the promotion of trade, the increase of export revenues and thus also the economic development of partner countries. SECO's flagship programme in this respect is the Swiss Import Promotion Programme (SIPPO).
SECO also helps developing and transition countries to draw up social and environmental standards (private sustainability standards, Better Cotton, 4C, etc.). For many partner countries, the promotion of organic and fair-trade products presents a good opportunity to penetrate the Swiss and EU markets. Labels also increase the local added value of products. High-quality speciality products with quality-related attributes, such as a geographical indication, have better chances of succeeding in Switzerland.
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