Switzerland is widely known as a destination for locally produced luxury goods. With an abundance of high quality cheese, chocolate, and watches that people travel across the globe to experience, one would think that locals would embrace their home country’s delicacies. But according to a report from Swiss newspaper Le Temps, Switzerland will import more cheese than they’ll export this year — for the very first time.
Even though fine cheese has long been part of the country’s cultural identity, the Swiss cheese trade balance has actually been shrinking for decades, according to The New York Times. The unwinding of Switzerland’s cheese industry was propelled in 2007, when the market was liberalized, allowing the country to trade within the European Union without tariffs or quotas for imports or exports. Now, Switzerland exports about 40 percent of the cheese it produces, and customs data shows that the country has imported more cheese by weight than is being sold abroad.