Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, but its close ties and treaties with the trading bloc mean there could be disruption to trade with the UK after Brexit.
That risk has been minimised with the approval by the Swiss government of a declaration that it will “provide the certainty that businesses need to continue trading freely”.
Liam Fox, Britain’s international trade secretary, says that the agreement with Switzerland is a “most significant and vital part of our no-deal planning”.
UK imports of Swiss watches are worth around CHF 1.3 billion per year, around one tenth of total imports of all goods and services worth £14 billion annually.
The country also exported jewellery, precious stones and metals worth more than £10 billion to Switzerland last year.
The agreement with Switzerland is one of 70 or more EU trade agreements that the UK is attempting to preserve as it leaves the European Union by rolling over the terms rather than opening them to renegotiation.