Swiss medical technology sector feels fallout of collapsed EU talks

European Union
European Union

The Swiss medical technology industry is already feeling the fallout from a breakdown in negotiations on bilateral ties between Switzerland and the European Union late last month.

After Switzerland walked away from the talks, Swiss certificates for medical devices became invalid, the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper in Zurich reported on Sunday. Products that have already been certified in Switzerland are no longer recognized in the European Union.

“These companies’ livelihood is under threat,” the paper cited Daniel Delfosse from the Swiss Medtech industry association as saying.

According to State Secretariat for Economic Affairs in Bern, intense negotiations are currently under way with Brussels on a solution.

Before the pandemic, in 2019, medical technology manufacturers were responsible for 5 per cent of Switzerland’s total exports, reaching 12 billion Swiss francs (13.3 billion dollars). Of those exports, 46 per cent went to the EU.

The new framework agreement had been under negotiation since 2014.

Among other things, it was intended to regulate updates and determine how disputes are arbitrated.

However, trade unions, constitutional lawyers and the right-wing Swiss People’s Party in Switzerland – the strongest faction in the National Council – saw new rules they did not want to accept.

At issue were rules on state aid, measures to protect high Swiss wages and access for EU citizens to Swiss social security funds, among other things.

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