The United Kingdom (UK) is an important economic, political and migration partner for Switzerland. It is not only a key sales market but also a significant supplier for the pharmaceutical industry. And not least, the pharmaceutical industry needs a certain number of experts from the UK. The relationship between Switzerland and the UK is currently based to a fundamental degree on bilateral agreements with the European Union (EU) that will no longer be applicable to the UK after it has left the EU. Against this background, the Federal Council approved a strategy titled “Mind the Gap” as early as October 2016.
Mind the Gap
The close relationship between Switzerland and the UK is currently based to a fundamental degree on the bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the EU. Following the UK’s withdrawal, these agreements are no longer applicable, which is why Switzerland and the UK had to negotiate new rules. With the “Mind the Gap” approach, the Federal Council is pursuing a well thought-out and timely strategy, and the trade agreements already signed also ensure barrier-free access to an important trading partner for the pharmaceutical industry in the future.
MRA and free movement of people
Mutual recognition of conformity assessments is central to the pharmaceutical industry. The trade agreement signed by Switzerland and the UK within the framework of the “Mind the Gap” provides that the product chapters “Motor Vehicles”, “Good Laboratory Practice (GLP)” and “Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Inspection for Medicinal Products and Batch Certification” of the MRA will be continued. For the remaining chapters of the MRA, the focus is on concluding a “traditional MRA” as far as possible to avoid double conformity assessment.
The new treaty also includes a simple regulation for the free movement of persons (incl. a generous “third country contingent”).