Compliance Support Infrastructure and Services > Switzerland

To raise export capacity in its partner countries and ensure their greater integration into international value chains, SECO supports the strengthening of standards, quality, accreditation and metrology systems to help these countries meet international technical and sanitary and phytosanitary standards requirements.

It assists SMEs to build up their ability to meet international norms and standards (SPS/TBT) and to enhance their export capacities and their competitiveness (marketing, market research, quality management, procurement).

Selected projects:

  • Strengthening the national quality system and the export capacities of SMEs in Nicaragua
  • Strengthening standards and quality in Mozambique, Vietnam, Ghana, Lebanon; UNIDO
  • Providing post WTO accession support to Vietnam: TBT/SPS compliance capacity development related to key export sectors, 2008 – 2010; UNIDO.

Special attention is given to the promotion of coherence between trade, biodiversity, climate change and social considerations. SECO programmes support the efforts of partner countries and their industry sectors to comply with international environment and social instruments related to trade. It supports the establishment of standards for niche-products in developing countries (fair trade, Label STEP) but is also becoming increasingly involved in initiatives to encourage the sustainability of products in the mass market (mainstreaming). The latter is also done through the support of multi-stakeholder-dialogues for the establishment of voluntary sustainability criteria for trade in selected commodities. It is only through complying with basic quality, social, and environmental standards that entry into high-price markets can be secured in the long term.

Selected projects:

  • Involving trade partners from developing countries in definition processes for voluntary standards (Coffee 4C, Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) , Responsible Soy RTRS, Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels RSB)
  • Fair Trade in Tourism, South Africa

To develop process capacities and introduce economically and ecologically more efficient methods of industrial production, SECO programmes support resource-efficient production and the transfer of environmentally friendly technologies (through the creation of cleaner production centres (CPC)); provide local support for the introduction of fundamental work standards; and promote the sustainable production of export goods, including biological certification and good agricultural practices (GAP) such as GLOBAL-GAP.

In line with the objectives of the Convention on Biodiversity, SECO has, together with UNCTAD, developed and implemented the concept of biotrade: promotion of exports based on local biodiversity under sustainable management plans.

Selected projects:

  • Biotrade Facilitation Programme; UNCTAD
  • Biotrade Programme: Peru; GTZ
  • Value Chain development with Phytotrade Africa and the Union for Ethical Biotrade to develop and promote biotrade products and services
  • Biotrade Program Vietnam; Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation