For a plant to thrive, conditions – fertile soil, water, light – must be right. Economies, too, require a good environment to prosper. If all success factors achieve their full potential and the gears mesh just right, the engine hums and moves Switzerland forward – and all of us with it.
Competitive Finance and Tax Policy
<p>Healthy public finances strengthen the confidence of investors looking for an attractive business location. In this respect, Switzerland has played its cards well. The same is true for Swiss tax policy which is based on federalism and competition. Cantons and municipalities, which are disadvantaged by this competition, benefit from a fair system of fiscal equalization. Still, reforms are necessary. For one thing, Switzerland needs a tax system that meets international standards. For another, rising social spending must not be allowed to prevent the government from fulfilling its other responsibilities. Given current demographic trends a reform of social security is inevitable.</p>
Free and Open Labor Markets
<p>An open, flexible labor market contributes a lot to Switzerland's prosperity. Companies can find the skilled personnel they need to grow. In times of crisis they can cut jobs without bureaucratic interference in order to assure their survival. This, coupled with a functioning social partnership prevents high unemployment and social unrest. Recently, the functioning free labor market has come under scrutiny by certain circles and calls for regulatory intervention are growing louder. But in the end this hurts workers too. Flexibility and openness must be preserved. This cause is championed by the Swiss federation of employers SAV.</p>
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Free enterprise is the foundation on which Switzerland's economic success is built. Good ideas require freedom to unfold. Therefore, government should not intervene with legislation in the free market except to protect economic freedom or property rights. Only where markets fail should government step in. And even then rules need to be as nimble and practical as possible. Enforcement must be non-bureaucratic and enterprise-friendly. Unnecessary or exaggerated controls are like poison for Swiss prosperity.
A student at the ETH Zürich develops an innovative lens. Now he is about to conquer the global markets.
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Whether for transport, energy, or telecommunications, Switzerland needs high-quality infrastructures that support the country's economic development. Providing these is a shared responsibility of the government and the private sector. The expansion of existing capacities should be based on the needs of business and the population. Priorities will be set accordingly. Each infrastructure facility needs the highest possible degree of self-sufficiency. The government establishes the ground rules that allow the different modes of transport, sources of energy, or providers of telecommunications to develop and improve through competition.
Switzerland's global networking currently allows Roche to recruit top talent without much bureaucratic red tape.
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Leading Education and Research Location
The quality of Swiss education and research is outstanding—it is a key to progress and has earned the country the title "Innovation Word Champion". The dual education system that allows young people of every stripe to develop their talents must therefore be cultivated and consistently developed further. The same goes for the fruitful cooperation between public research institutions and private sector economy. Because investments in education and research only pay off in the long run they should never be sacrificed for short-term political gain.
Secure, Competitive Energy Supply and Efficient Protection of the Environment
Switzerland's energy supply is sufficient, cost-effective, and secure. The country deals rationally with the advantages and disadvantages of different forms of energy production and uses them efficiently. The economy, for its part, operates at a high level of energy efficiency and is trying to improve further. The Swiss energy market is closely linked to foreign countries and is to become part of the European Single Market. Because a well preserved environment is an important attribute for an attractive business location the economy supports efforts to use natural resources sparingly. However, a national solo effort to protect the environment and the climate is not an option.
If you're going to cut down trees at all, you might as well turn them into a newspaper five times and burn the remains to generate energy, instead of just feeding it straight into the furnace.
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Open Access to World Markets
<p>As an export nation Switzerland depends on excellent access to foreign markets. The main tools to ensure this are free trade agreements and the bilateral agreements with the European Union, linked to a commitment to important international organizations such as the WTO or the OECD. As it cannot defend its interests with the means of a great power Switzerland appreciates international standards and agreements and the fact that these can be enforced by an international court of law in the event of a conflict.</p>
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<p>A successful economic policy creates an environment that allows companies to invest long-term. Legal certainty, stable social and political conditions, and an independent monetary policy are basic conditions for the sustainable economic success of a country. This is especially true for Switzerland. As a small nation without natural resources it can only secure and expand its prosperity if it creates a business environment that allows innovation to thrive and companies to grow. This works if the business community and the population act responsibly and cooperate in the common interest.</p>
Functioning Market Economy
Competition works in Switzerland: good ideas always make their way. The supply of goods and services is as good as anywhere in the world. To ensure the smooth functioning of our market economy, we continuously determine which services should be provided by government and the private sector. The government has the important task to promote competition wherever possible, even across our borders. Isolation and protectionism are no recipe for a prospering and internationally competitive business location.
My German and French guests assure me they will pay more for better service.
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