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Samsung Upcycling: An initiative to promote our old laptops

Elimination of tariff barriers, dismantling of technical barriers to trade or even intensification of trade: the economic advantages of the text, which will be submitted to the people on March 7, are undeniable. Swiss companies will be able to make substantial additional profits, said Fabio Regazzi (PDC / TI) to the press in Bern.

“The total value of bilateral trade flows amounts to 1.4 billion francs”, added Céline Amaudruz (UDC / GE). “And this stock has clear growth potential. In the last ten years alone, the volume of trade between Switzerland and Indonesia has more than doubled.”

Concrete commitments

But the text “is much more than a customs agreement,” added Fabio Regazzi (PDC / TI). By closely associating free trade with sustainable development, it becomes “a truly pioneering agreement”.

Concrete commitments in terms of the environment and respect for the rights of workers and indigenous populations have been made, said Jürg Grossn (PVL / BE). In particular, virgin forests and other ecosystems must be protected. The agreement also represents an opportunity to promote the sustainable production of palm oil.

In view of the strong reluctance from both environmental and agricultural circles, the Federal Council has set quotas on imports of this product, the customs duties of which will be reduced.

The implementing ordinance, currently in consultation, also contains safeguards. In order to benefit from the preferential rates, importers will have to prove that they meet sustainability objectives. They must have a traceability certificate.

More than a palm oil deal

For Josef Dittli (PLR / UR), “opponents are wrongly focusing on a single product, palm oil”. However, the product is not at the top of the trade between Bern and Jakarta. These are mechanical parts, which account for nearly a quarter of Swiss exports to Indonesia, pointed out Fabio Regazzi. Pharmaceuticals and chemicals come second.

On the import side, textiles and shoes occupy the top of the podium, he added. They are followed by electrical equipment, tea, coffee and spices. “The free trade agreement with Indonesia is therefore much more than a palm oil agreement.”

Excluding an important product for trading partners would send a negative signal for future agreements, denounced Josepf Dittli. By advancing protectionist arguments, the opponents “only aim to hamper foreign economic policy”.

No danger for Swiss oil

And Céline Amaudruz to recall the existence of a safeguard mechanism. Should the Swiss oilseed market come under pressure as a result of the agreement, Bern could respond appropriately to imports of Indonesian palm oil. A temporary suspension of tariff reductions is possible under certain conditions.

“The concessions provided for in the agreement are carefully defined. There is no danger for the national production of rapeseed and sunflower oil”, continued the MP. “On the contrary, there are new export possibilities for Swiss products, such as chocolate or dairy products, such as cheese.”

“Free trade agreements are important for a strong Switzerland,” added the Genevan. “The more free trade agreements there are, the less dependent we are.”

Insufficient sustainability criteria

Opponents are not convinced by the cauteles announced by the Confederation. The destruction of tropical forests, harmful effects on biodiversity and endangerment of local populations will continue.

The sustainability criteria required are not up to par, according to the referendum committee. Three-quarters of RSPO-certified oil palm plantations in Indonesia are located in former forest areas.

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