Brexit: Road transport Switzerland – UK

At present passenger and goods transport between Switzerland and the UK is largely based on the land transport agreement between Switzerland and the European Union.

The UK’s departure from the EU on 31 January triggered the start of a fixed-term transition period between the UK and the EU. This transition period lasts until the end of 2020 and may be extended once for a period of up to one or two years. The land transport agreement between Switzerland and the EU will continue to apply to the UK during this time. In terms of passenger and goods transport, the regime that applied before Brexit, i.e. reciprocal market access, ban on cabotage in Switzerland and regulations such as the 40-tonne limit and ban on Sunday and night driving, will continue to apply. This temporary continuation was formally confirmed by an exchange of notes between the EU (including the United Kingdom) and Switzerland. Under Switzerland's domestic law, the term ‘EU Member State’ continues to include the UK for the duration of the transition period.

At the end of the transition period, the land transport agreement will no longer apply to the UK. However, Switzerland and the UK signed a road transport agreement on 25 January 2019. The text of that agreement will replace the previous agreement between Switzerland and the UK of 1974, and provide the basis for international passenger and goods transport by road between the two countries in the event that no agreement is reached between the UK and the EU by the end of the transition period. In particular, it ensures that reciprocal market access is maintained and that the ban on cabotage within Switzerland remains. However, practical implementation of the agreement depends on whether the EU grants the necessary transit rights, as land transport between Switzerland and the UK is only possible via EU Member States.

Should an agreement be reached between the UK and the EU to follow on from the transition period, Switzerland and the UK also intend to draw up a comprehensive agreement. The content and entry into force of such an agreement depend on the outcome of the negotiations between the UK and the EU.

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