Swiss Finance Minister Ueli Maurer and UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond signed the two agreements in Davos during last week’s World Economic Forum annual meeting.
The insurance agreement is designed to ensure the Swiss and UK general (or non-life) insurance sectors can continue to trade freely after the UK leaves Europe. It will mean Swiss insurance firms can set up branches and trade in the UK, and UK firms can do likewise in Switzerland.
Meanwhile, the road traffic agreement aims to ensure that carriage of goods by road will remain exempt from authorization for journeys between the two countries and in transit.
In addition, mutual access for the carriage of goods and passengers by road will be maintained and administrative expenses will be kept low, the Swiss Finance Ministry said in a statement.
Today in @Davos, Ueli Maurer and I signed an agreement which will ensure the UK and Swiss #insurance sectors can continue trading freely with one another after #Brexit. The UK insurance industry contributes approx. £35bn to our economy and employs over 324,000 people 🇨🇭 🇬🇧 #WEF19 pic.twitter.com/AGgcX62RIZ— Philip Hammond (@PhilipHammondUK) January 25, 2019
The timing of the introduction of the two new agreements depends on whether the UK and the EU are able to come to an agreement on the UK’s departure from the EU.
In the event of a non-deal Brexit, the agreements will come into force on March 30th – the day after the UK leaves the EU.
The agreements are necessary as Swiss–UK bilateral relations are currently based on agreements between the Switzerland and the EU. These will cease to apply with Brexit.