Exclusive Interview

Switzerland: “In difficult times, one must invest"

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There is nothing to be done about the strong Swiss franc then?

With our economic policy not directly, no. And the National Bank, the guardian of our currency, is - and this is crucial - independent. The Swiss franc is strong, but it is also overvalued, and for good reasons. Switzerland is very stable, both politically and economically, is productive and has an excellent education system. And we have the best infrastructure. Switzerland is seen all over the world as a model country. All this is also an invitation to invest in our currency.

So you say the Swiss industry must learn to live with it?

I must answer that in the affirmative. The Swiss economy has already partially learned to cope with it. I have the highest respect for entrepreneurs that take on the challenges of the strong Swiss franc and still manage to keep their companies on track with innovativeness and efficiency. In response to the increased pressure, they have modernised and optimised their production.

Gallery

In Eastern Europe, businesses receive EU subsidies for their capital goods, so that companies there profit from both cheaper means of production and labour than in Switzerland. What is the Federal Council's view on such subsidies?

I think it is key that we find the right response here in Switzerland. Subsidies are not the answer, because they relieve companies of the pressure to produce competitively. That is why our know-how is crucial. Thanks to our excellent expertise and strong innovativeness, we in Switzerland can offer a relevant high added value. Our chances are good, despite the current difficult currency effects.

And a final statement to Switzerland as an industrial base.

A key opportunity of our industrial landscape is the high number of owner-operated companies, which ensures that actions and investments are carried out with a long-term perspective. These are aspects that will contribute positively to the future of Switzerland as an industrial base.

Thank you for the interview.

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