The Confederation has established a broad growth policy to stimulate the Swiss economy. Its measures also apply to SMEs. Presentation.
A more productive economy, resolutely open, especially in the European Union direction, capable of resisting economic shocks and building sustainable prosperity: this is the objective of the growth policy approved in June 2016 by the Federal Council.
In this 2016–2019 strategy, productivity is shown as a priority focus. Almost one-half of the 14 measures cited in this report are attached to the strategy. Productivity is planned in the broad sense of the term by the Federal Council: it involves opening the economy, elimination of trade barriers and the increasing enlargement of markets and opportunities for companies. In this context, maintaining bilateral relationships with the European Union is considered to be essential, especially in order to be able to allow enterprises to continue to recruit a qualified labour force, which they need.
To the best of our knowledge, the Swiss growth policy also provides measures for SMEs geared towards the local market. The goal is to prevent inequality between enterprises active in the competitive export sectors and those limited to domestic demand, facing structurally higher costs.
The recent economic disruption, especially since the abandonment of the floor rate between the Euro and the Swiss franc, is leading the Federal Council to encourage the resilience of the economy; in other words, the ability of its participants to absorb shocks. This is the second focus of its 2016–2019 policy. The third is aimed at planning for sustainable growth, which generates a minimum of negative collateral effects.
Selection of measures particularly targeting enterprises in the Swiss policy area of growth 2016–2019:
- Maintenance and Development of the Bilateral Route with the EU
Renewing and maintaining bilateral agreements will enable enterprises to continue to have access to a qualified labour force and will bring essential legal security to gain the trust of economic partners. Without this strategy, the GDP of Switzerland would fall by 5 to 7% by 2035 according to estimates.
- Market Access Expanded for Swiss Companies
Here, it involves encouraging foreign trade and competitiveness by strengthening existing free trade agreements and by entering into new free trade agreements, especially within the WTO.
- Establishment of a General Framework and Competitive Conditions Adapted to the Digital Economy
Digitalization is seen as a source of opportunities and growth. The Federal Council hopes to establish framework conditions that allow innovation and the development of solutions by enterprises as well as employee training.
- Liberalization of Electricity Market and Gas Market Regulation
This full opening – decided upon for electricity, not yet for gas – must reduce the price of energy and thus benefit enterprises, enabling them to gain in competitiveness. The opening to competition also must make it possible to improve the quality of the offering.
- Removing Administrative Burdens and Improving Regulation for Enterprises
Existing measures to reduce administrative burdens will be continued and expanded.
- Strengthening Competition on the Domestic Market by Facilitating Imports
The simplification of customs procedures will involve direct savings for companies that consume intermediate products, or indirect savings by reducing administrative burdens in the field. The VAT on imports might be simplified.
- Agricultural Policy 2022–2025: Consistent Development of the Agricultural Policy
The current agricultural policy will not be called into question, but some reforms particularly involving targeted incentives are announced for the 2022–2025 period, and should lead to an increase from 400 to 600 million Swiss francs and reflect positively on retail trade, tourism and gastronomy.
- Second Set of Measures of the 2050 Energy Strategy
Incentive taxes on electricity and fuels are planned to contribute to reducing energy consumption, and thus greenhouse gases, but abatements are planned for enterprises with operations or production that requires a large amount of energy.
- Legislation Related to the Climate After 2020
To reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, the incentive tax on CO2 charged on fuels is planned, but here also with exceptions for enterprises that produce a large amount of CO2.
- More Efficient Use and Targeted Development of Transportation Infrastructures
Measures to increase the flow and intensity of road and railway traffic are planned, which should have a positive impact on the competitiveness of enterprises, by reducing costs related to accidents and time lost in traffic jams.
Sources: 2016–2019 Growth Policy of the Federal Council