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Henri Gétaz Head Directorate for European Affairs Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

Ambassador Henri Gétaz heads the Directorate for European Affairs DEA within the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA.

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In this capacity, he is responsible for coordinating ongoing negotiations between Switzerland and the European Union (EU). This includes leading negotiations on an agreement on institutional questions.

For Mr. Gétaz, who studied Economics at the Universities of St. Gallen and Lausanne and wrote his Ph.D. on “intra industrial trade from a Swiss perspective”, leading the DEA also means returning to his roots: between 2001 to 2006, he worked for the FDFA/FDEA Integration Office (IO) serving as deputy to Michael Ambühl, the former IO Head. On 1 January 2013, the FDFA/FDEA Integration Office has been incorporated entirely into the FDFA as directorate.

  • Mr. Gétaz joined the Federal Department of Economic Affairs FDEA in 1990. During his time at the Federal Office of Foreign Economic Affairs, which later merged with the Federal Office for Economic Development and Labour to become the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO, he represented Switzerland in various bodies of the Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) and in free trade negotiations in the context of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).
  • In 1994, he was appointed Secretary of the Federal Office of Foreign Economic Affairs and as Chief of Staff to Franz Blankart, the director of that Office. From 1996 to 2001, Mr. Gétaz led SECO negotiations with GATS/WTO on international services.
  • As deputy head of the former FDFA/FDEA Integration Office, between 2001 and 2006 he was a significant guiding and supporting force in the negotiations on the Bilateral Agreements II.
  • From 2006 to 2010, Mr. Gétaz was head of the Economic and Financial Division of the Embassy of Switzerland in Washington D.C. In this function, among other duties, he played a central role in the negotiations to settle the tax dispute between UBS and the US authorities.
  • He took over as head of what is now the FDFA's Directorate for European Affairs DEA in 2010.
  • He is due to step down from his current EDA role and will become the next Secretary General of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) from September 2018.