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Swiss Business Federation
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Our Mission 

economiesuisse's mission is to create an optimal economic environment for Swiss business. In order to achieve this, it aims to preserve entrepreneurial freedom for all businesses, to continuously improve Switzerland's global competitiveness in manufacturing, services, and research, and to promote sustained growth as a prerequisite for a high level of employment in Switzerland.

Our Organization

Our activities are based on the decisions of the general assembly of our members, the full board of directors and the committee of the board of directors. Permanent commissions, ad hoc working groups and various expert committees ensure the ongoing integration of the expertise of the respective associations and businesses into economiesuisse's position on the issues. economiesuisse has offices in Zurich (head office), Geneva, Berne, Lugano and Brussels, and employs some 55 people. Through our BUSINESSEUROPE (Confederation of European Business) membership and our participation in its working groups, our federation has close links with other top European economic associations. economiesuisse is also a member of the BIAC (Business and Industry Advisory Committee of the OECD) hosts ICC Switzerland, the Swiss chapter of the ICC (International Chamber of Commerce). 


Areas of Activity 

As mentioned in our mission statement,
our work is centred around the following
political issues:

  • Economic and monetary policies
  • Public finance and taxation
  • International economic relations
  • Education and research
  • Infrastructure, energy and environmental policies
  • Competition policy
  • Regulatory affairs 

Our Work

economiesuisse, a partner in business, competently represents the interests of its members on numerous federal committees such as the Federal Commission of Economic Policies, the Federal Commission for the Universities of Applied Sciences, the Federal Competition Commission, Swiss Export Risk Insuarance (SERV), the Consultative Commission for Foreign Economic Affairs, the Customs Experts' Commission, the International Development Co-operation Commission, the Federal Statistics Commission, Consumer Affairs Commission, etc.

The Swiss Economy

With a nominal gross domestic product of around 600 billion Swiss francs and a per capita income of SFr 74,000, Switzerland is one of the most prosperous countries in the world. Switzerland has excellent qualifications for continued success in the global economy of the future. Growing international interaction between countries has increased the challenges facing economic decisionmakers at both national and international levels. We are here to help meet those demands: in the future, Switzerland must remain one of the most competitive economies in the world. That is our vision.

Principles of Condu

economiesuisse engages in matters in the common interest of its members and the Swiss economy in general. In its activities, it strictly observes all applicable rules and regulations. As a matter of principle, no exchange of competitively sensitive information takes place at meetings and in other activities of economiesuisse (including information among competitors on price, customers, production data, competitive strategies or plans, or on any other non-public, competitively sensitive information) due to the focus on general economic policy.


Who we are

Monika Rühl, Chairwoman of the Executive Board 

economiesuisse is the result of a merger between the Swiss Federation of Commerce and Industry (Vorort) and the Society for the Promotion of the Swiss economy (wf). economiesuisse's direct membership includes 100 trade and industry associations, 20 cantonal chambers of commerce and several individual companies.

The following sectors and industries are represented by economiesuisse: advertising, advisory services, banking, cement, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, communication and media, construction, energy, engineering, food products, hotel and tourism, information technology, insurance, machinery, electrical and metalworking industries, packaging, paper and cardboard, plastics, telecommunications, textile and clothing, tobacco, trading, transport and distribution, watchmaking.

economiesuisse works conjointly with the Swiss Employers Association and maintains close contact with the Swiss Association of small and medium-sized enterprises.

Latest News
Brussels -
March 12
18.00 - 20.00



In the framework of a special HAPPY SWISS HOUR at the L42 Business Center (Map)

by meyerlustenberger | Lachenal

Confirm your attendance to
Bring along a friend.

General economic interests not heeded sufficiently

Today, the Swiss Federal Council sent its proposal on the implementation of the constitutional article on the Mass Immigration Initiative (MII) to parliament for consultation. Simultaneously, the Swiss government adopted the mandate to start negotiations with the EU. The government thus unwaveringly follows its strategy of a rigid implementation as announced back in June. economiesuisse cannot understand why the explicit leeway is not being leveraged and why the economic viability – expressly stipulated in our constitution – is not heeded. The Swiss Business Federation urges the Swiss Federal Council to consider the option of a safeguard clause.

The model for the implementation legislation presented today stipulates a rigid quota system that does not correspond to the needs of the labor market. The Swiss Federal Council proposes to introduce maximum figures pertaining to all residence permits exceeding four months and to cross-border commuters. These figures are to be determined on an annual basis. When determining such maximum figures, the government relies on economic indicators, on the general labor market as well as on the cantons. At the same time, the legislation stipulates a strict priority for Swiss nationals for all categories subject to permit. economiesuisse regrets that with its proposal, the Swiss Federal Council does not in any way heed the constitutional article stipulating the “general economic interests” and, therefore, does not leverage the explicitly mentioned leeway for a moderate implementation. Moreover, the Swiss government ignores the clear decisions taken by the EU stating that no solution can be found on the basis of quotas and a strict priority for Swiss nationals. In this way, the proposal presented today is on a direct collision course. economiesuisse demands instead that a model containing safeguard clauses be considered. Furthermore, short-term residence permits up to 12 months and cross-border commuters should not be subject to any quotas.

Safeguard clause sets appropriate incentives and boasts better chances for a solution achieved through negotiations

On January 8, economiesuisse and various other umbrella organizations strongly argued in favor of a mechanism that includes a safeguard clause. Such mechanism stipulates a so-called global quota for labor which would be newly defined every year by means of an ordinance enacted by the Swiss Federal Council and would have the function of a safeguard threshold. Up to the set threshold, the free movement of persons would still be valid for all EU-/EFTA citizens. Subsequently, immigration of labor would temporarily be restricted. Cross-border commuters and persons holding a short-term residence permit are exempt in this solution since they are not part of the permanent resident population. The already existing quota system pertaining to third countries would continue to be applied. economiesuisse is convinced that the model containing the aforementioned safeguard clause has by far a better chance than any rigid quotas because it resorts to rules and regulations that are already well known within the EU. It goes without saying that the reduction of immigration requested by the Swiss people must be given priority. In order to meet the people’s will, efforts on various internal levels must be undertaken.

When presenting their proposal of how to implement the initiative, the industrial associations made it clear that it is the goal not to invoke the safeguard clause in the first place. This goal can only be achieved if the demand for foreign labor is decreased. In order to ensure a better leverage of the domestic labor potential, Swiss businesses have announced various measures and, in some cases, already introduced such measures. At the same time, however, they also demand that corresponding efforts be undertaken on federal, cantonal, and municipal level. The figures clearly show that the public sector and the state-affiliated sector have been creating a huge number of jobs over the past years and are, therefore, partly responsible for the high immigration figures.

economiesuisse and the Swiss Employers’ Association (SAV) will now jointly scrutinize the draft put forward by the Swiss Federal Council. It is of great importance to economiesuisse and its members that the implementation of the new constitutional article lives up to the expectations and wishes of the electorate. This requires a business compatible solution that does not endanger the bilateral path – as was recently proven by the clear verdict on the Ecopop Initiative.

An important No-vote to the dangerous Ecopop initiative economiesuisse on the results of the vote on November, 30th: Three times «No» strengthens Switzerland as a location for business.

On Sunday, December 30th, Swiss voters have rejected the initiative «Stop overpopulation» (Ecopop initiative) by a clear majority of more than 74%. This is a highly important signal for Switzerland as a business location. The radical proposal would have massively damaged the framework for Swiss business in the years to come. A majority of the Swiss supports regulation of immigration, but is opposed to writing rigid quotas into the federal constitution, which do not take account of the economies´ needs. The future migration policy of Switzerland will have to incorporate these two important signals. Accordingly, the Mass-immigration initiative must be implemented sensibly and with regard to the will of the people. For economiesuisse the bilateral ties with the European Union are paramount and must not be compromised. Therefore, it is vital, that the Federal Council may proceed with the internal implementation and the difficult talks with the EU without further obstruction.

The Swiss people fortify the national bank’s independence
On Sunday, December 30th, Swiss voters have demonstrated their trust in the Swiss National Bank with seventy-seven per cent no against the “Save our Gold” initiative which would have forced the national bank to hold 20% of its assets in gold. The initiative would have also required the national bank to repatriate all its gold held abroad and prevented any sales of gold ever held by the national bank. economiesuisse is pleased with this clear verdict. Thereby, the Swiss people have made clear that the Swiss National Bank should continue its very successful mission to stabilize the currency without political interference. This is also recognition for the work of the national bank in the past years. Switzerland has only made it through the financial and economic crisis successfully, due to the national bank’s decisive action in 2011 when the Swiss Franc rocketed against the Euro within a few weeks thus threatening the important Swiss export sector. The target rate for the Franc has ensured planning reliability for businesses and saved countless jobs. After this Sunday, it is clear: The national bank will be able to fulfil its core function without shackles.

A clear signal in support of federalized taxation
The Swiss business federation is also pleased with the clear rejection of the initiative to abolish lump sum taxation by 59 per cent of the voters. By their clear vote, the electorate has underlined that the competence to decide if and how they want to make use of this taxation instrument should remain with the cantons. The initiative would have resulted in painful tax and income shortfalls in many communities.  Especially in mountainous or brink regions, lump sum taxation has proven successful in attracting wealthy taxpayers. These individuals invest in those regions and thereby support the preservation of jobs and the local economy. Furthermore, other countries offer attractive tax regimens as well. There were no grounds to abandon the lump sum tax without an emergency and to weaken Switzerland’s position in the international competition of tax locations.