Kemi Badenoch is today heading to Switzerland to launch negotiations on a new trade deal.
The Trade Secretary is looking to update the current agreement – which was signed more than 50 years ago – to make it easier to export services such as financial, legal and architectural.
She will meet her Swiss counterpart Federal Councilor Guy Parmelin in the capital Bern.
Ms Badenoch said a modernized deal would be a “huge prize” for the two “services superpowers”.
She said: “As two of the world’s leading service economies, there’s a huge prize on offer to both the UK and Switzerland by updating our trading relationship to reflect the strength of our companies working in areas ranging from finance and legal, to accountancy and architecture. .
READ MORE: Badenoch hails UK as two Brexit trade deals to come into force
“The UK and Switzerland are natural trading partners and today’s launch will play to our strengths as services superpowers, while also boosting investment in emerging technologies, data innovation, and digital trade.”
The current deal is effectively a rollover agreement from when Britain was a member of the EU.
The Department for Business and Trade said most of the UK’s services exports to Switzerland are delivered electronically but the existing pact was signed in 1972, before the advent of the internet, and does not cover investment, digital or data.
It added that the new deal could lower tariffs on UK exports to Switzerland, slashing annual duties for British businesses by around £7.4million.
During her visit, Ms Badenoch will go to the SIX Swiss Exchange, Europe’s third biggest stock exchange, and meet female business leaders at Advance, a network of around 140 Swiss companies committed to increasing the number of women in management positions in the country.
It comes as the government continues its push to forge post-Brexit economic ties outside the EU.
Britain earlier this year struck its biggest deal since leaving the EU with its accession to a bumper Indo-Pacific trade bloc.
Joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) cuts tariffs for British exporters to a group of nations which – with the addition of the UK – has a total gross domestic product (GDP) of £11trillion.
Meanwhile, free trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand – the first the UK has negotiated from scratch since Brexit – are set to come into force this month.