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Country Forecast Switzerland August 2017

Country Forecast Switzerland August 2017

  • August 2017
  • ID: 1698065

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Policy towards private enterprise and competition


2017-18: Government aims to improve services competition between cantons, but progress will be slow.


2019-21: Delayed liberalisation of household electricity market scheduled to proceed, although full market opening would be subject to a referendum. Competition legislation strengthened gradually towards EU standards, but weaknesses persist.


Policy towards foreign investment


2017-18: Business climate remains favourable to foreign investment, but national culture moderately less open to foreign influences. Fiscal incentives for foreign investment still concentrated at cantonal level. Reduced flows to and from the UK.


2019-21: Reform of "harmful" cantonal corporate tax regimes is planned in response to international pressure. Abolition of some rules to attract multinationals and holding companies, with focus on patent-related tax incentives.


Foreign trade and exchange controls


2017-18: Swiss-EU relations remain strained in wake of 2014 referendum vote to introduce EU immigration quotas. Limited progress in trade negotiations with the EU on agricultural goods. Gradual strengthening of Swiss-Chinese trade relations.


2019-21: Poor prospects for world trade negotiations, but bilateral deals possible. US-EU free-trade agreement unlikely.


Taxes


2017-18: Parliament will work to revise corporate tax reform plans following the rejection in a referendum of the Corporate Tax Reform III.


2019-21: Comprehensive corporate tax reform likely to proceed from 2020 or 2021, focused on shake-up of cantonal taxes. Modest cut in headline rate of value-added tax (VAT). Long-term nuclear phase-out may include eco-driven tax reform.


Financing


2017-18: Pressure on major banks to strengthen capital bases amid negative policy interest rates, tighter financial regulation and gradual abolition of banking secrecy, all of which will weigh on banks' revenue. Risk of overheated property market.


2019-21: Official interest rates only turn positive in late 2021. More stringent legislation could add to financing costs. Banking secrecy is scaled back substantially under international pressure.


The labour market


2017-18: Subdued wage growth, particularly among low-skilled foreign workers. Female retirement age could rise. Persistent political tensions, but reversal of EU immigration quota vote remains possible.


2019-21: Continued reliance on skilled foreign labour. Possible sectoral labour shortages if quotas implemented.


Infrastructure


2017-18: Gotthard rail tunnel becomes a more important transit link. Telecommunications infrastructure upgraded further.


2019-21: Gradual roll-out of ultra-high-speed broadband. Ceneri rail tunnel completed as part of Swiss AlpTransit initiative.



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