Despite the lack of its own raw materials, Switzerland was one of the first countries in the world to be industrialized. Its own market is small, but the country has invested in the quality and manufacture of advanced products exported worldwide. The industry is very varied.
Small and medium-sized companies dominate, while Switzerland is home to several world-leading companies such as the food giant Nestlé and the Swedish-Swiss industrial group ABB.
Among the most important goods are all kinds of machines, workshop products and electrical products. Switzerland is also known for precision tools such as surgical instruments and not least watches. Chemical industry and biotechnology have grown substantially in the 21st century; Switzerland is a world-leading exporter of pharmaceuticals. Tobacco, textiles and chocolate are also important goods.
- COUNTRYAAH: List of top trading partners of Switzerland. Includes countries that imported most shipments from and exported most goods to the country.
No to immigration ceiling
74 percent of voters say no to a proposal to limit immigration to 0.2 percent of residents per year, with the aim of protecting the environment. Voters also reject proposals to scrap the flat tax levied on foreigners without income in Switzerland, and to oblige the central bank to hold gold reserves equivalent to at least one-fifth of the bank’s assets.
EU no to new agreement
The EU rejects a request from Switzerland to renegotiate the free movement agreement for EU citizens concluded between the EU and Switzerland in 2002. A renegotiation is necessary for Switzerland to be able to restrict immigration in accordance with the results of the referendum held in February. (see February 2014).
No to minimum wage and Gripen purchases
53 percent of voters say no to the government’s planned purchase of 22 Jas Gripen plan, which Parliament voted for in 2013. The main reason is stated to be the high cost the purchase would entail for the state. At the same time, 76 percent say no to introducing a minimum wage of 25 Swiss francs per hour, which would have been the highest in the world.
EU restriction in educational cooperation
Following the referendum on restricting immigration, the European Commission announces that ongoing discussions on Switzerland’s participation in the EU’s research and education programs are being frozen. The EU states that participation in the programs and access to EU support for these purposes is based on the fact that the country respects free movement within the EU. Shortly before, the Swiss government informed Croatia that residents from there do not have access to the labor market in Switzerland, as a result of the results of the controversial referendum.
Yes to restrict EU immigration
The Swiss vote by a slight margin yes – 50.3 percent – to restrict immigration from EU countries in a referendum. It is the right-wing populist SVP that launched the proposal and produced a referendum on the issue. The European Commission criticizes the decision and warns that Switzerland may no longer have access to the common market.
No to salary cap
Voters reject a proposal that the highest salary in a company should not be more than twelve times higher than the lowest salary. They also say no to a proposal for tax relief for parents who take care of the children at home, as well as a proposal for increased road tax.
Agreement against tax evasion
The government writes on the OECD Convention on Tax Escape, through which states commit themselves to sharing information to prevent individuals from avoiding paying taxes.
No to abolished military service
A left-wing proposal to abolish military service is down by 73 percent of the vote. The voters, on the other hand, support a proposal for amendments to the epidemic law and a proposal for extended opening hours for gas stations.
Yes to stricter asylum rules
A referendum supports the stricter asylum laws introduced by the government (see September 2012). Just over 78 percent of voters say yes to the laws. Almost the same proportion rejects at the same time an SVP proposal for direct election of members of the government (they are now appointed by Parliament). This is the third time such a proposal is rejected.
Yes to payroll for entrepreneurs
A referendum calls for a ban on high parachute agreements for business executives. 67.9 percent voted in favor of the proposal, which also means limiting the directors’ mandate to one year. The vote came after a parachute agreement of close to half a billion SEK. The government must now, despite opposition, produce a bill.