Competition & Regulatory Affairs
Competition is the core element of any market economy. In order for it to work, an effective but reasonable enforcement of the rules on all economic operators is necessary. We support effective competition based on transparent rules in all areas of economic policy—along with the removal of trade barriers, state supported monopolies or price distorting subsidies. In the long run, business location Switzerland cannot continue to play in the top league unless it promotes competition and entrepreneurial initiative.
Creating an optimal environment for all sectors of the economy is difficult and requires political finesse. While the legal framework must guarantee legal certainty and transparency it should also leave the greatest possible scope for entrepreneurial activity. Regulations designed to cover every conceivable risk choke off initiative. Instead of meddling with the organization and operation of local companies the government should devise an optimal framework that allows Switzerland to position itself as an attractive, reliable and, above all, legally valid business location.
For a thriving economy and for society as a whole the education system fulfills a very essential function. Whether in politics, culture, or business, Switzerland as we know it could not exist without a well-educated and innovative younger generation. High quality primary schools and a dual system of higher education have made Switzerland strong. But new insights and good ideas cannot be planned. They can only be encouraged: through long-term stability and a large measure of freedom. We are working to ensure that the right course is set, and that Switzerland tomorrow will retain its top ranking among the countries of the world.
Energy & Environment
Climate protection concerns us all and Swiss business is pointing the way. Based on voluntary measures it has successfully charted a path of CO2 reduction and continues to stay the course. Innovation in this sector is doubly advantageous: resource-friendly processes help cut costs and may evolve into business ideas. Regardless of any decision for or against certain technologies we promote a reliable, affordable, and environmentally friendly energy supply. This includes making sure that Switzerland stays integrated in the European electricity market.
Finances & Taxes
Competitive Tax Policy
Thanks to a functioning competition at the level of the cantons and municipalities, Switzerland is now a tax-attractive country for companies and private individuals alike. But this significant advantage is not set in stone. The worldwide competition between locations and the international pressure on the Swiss tax system have increased considerably in recent years. This is why we also advocate for a simplified VAT and for tax cuts that benefit no just certain sectors but the entire economy.
Healthy Public Finances
The Swiss national debt is fairly moderate compared to many other countries. This is at least partly the result of the debt brake, an instrument that was introduced to force political decision makers not to become lightheaded when the going is good in order to make sure that basic government services remain assured even in hard times. This is one reason why Switzerland was one of few countries to reduce its debt despite the financial and economic crisis. We therefore support an expansion of the debt brake principle. Especially in the social insurance sector, Switzerland will not be able to go forward without introducing such a rule.
General Economic Policy
In day-to-day politics the larger economic picture often gets too little attention. All the more important to have a regulatory framework that serves as a reliable compass for liberal, business-friendly decisions. In general, the success of the Swiss economy is a fairly reliable indicator of the correctness of these framework conditions. GDP growth is an important sign of a successful economic policy. As a business federation with a great number of members, we are in a privileged position watch current developments unfold and use this insight to publish a bi-annual economic forecast.
Swiss infrastructure is quite impressive: not only trains, roads and airports but telecommunication and postal services as well. But this quality should not be taken for granted. It is becoming evident today that many areas have been neglected for too long, especially in road transport. Big investments will be needed to maintain the current level through the coming decades and private sector competition should be part of the mix. Experience shows that basic services can be guaranteed even if some of them are not provided by state-owned or state-affiliated companies.
International Economic Relations
The Swiss economy is globally oriented: Swiss goods, services, and investments are present on all continents. This requires a foreign trade policy that secures full access to world markets and protects investments. Due to its position in the heart of Europe, good relations to EU countries are particularly important for Switzerland. Non-discriminatory access to the European single market with its more than 500 million consumers is indispensable for the Swiss economy. As a small country the innovation-based export nation Switzerland cannot prevail by mere market power but depends on contractual agreements for market access. A world of globalized value chains calls for an assertive foreign trade policy that banks on multilateral and bilateral trade liberalization.