Swiss sign historic trade deal with Japan

Senators on Monday unanimously approved a free-trade agreement with Japan, the first of its kind.

This content was published on June 8, 2009 - 21:14

The House of Representatives has already approved the Free Trade and Economic Partnership Accord with the world's second-largest national economy. It did so unanimously as well.

Monday's vote is an "historical" step on par with a similar agreement reached with the European Union in 1972, lawmakers said.

The agreement should boost Switzerland's export industries by helping them maintain their ground against competitors, said Doris Leuthard, Switzerland's economics minister.

The accord is Japan's first with a European trading partner. Japan is the fourth largest market for Swiss exporters after the EU, the United States and China.

The agreement is scheduled go into effect on August 1. with agencies

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