Economic policy conditions must give MEM businesses the scope to compete internationally from their base in Switzerland. Key factors for this to happen include:
- A liberal labour market
- Access to world markets with as few obstructions as possible
- Effective knowledge and technology transfer
Preserving the liberal labour market
The liberal labour market is one of Switzerland’s key assets. It is one of the reasons behind the country’s low unemployment figures. The liberal labour market strengthens the ability of the MEM industries to compete at international level, and it must not be restricted.
Promoting free trade
The highly export-oriented MEM industries are under constant pressure to seek out and exploit opportunities in established and new markets. For this to happen, it is critical that their access to world markets be as unobstructed as possible.
Switzerland has its bilateral agreements with the EU, which guarantee access to the European single market. It also has around 30 free trade agreements with around 40 partner countries outside the EU. This network of agreements has to be constantly broadened and deepened. Areas of focus here are the United States, Mercosur and India. However, the highest-priority task is to preserve Switzerland’s excellent access to the European single market.
Ensuring effective knowledge and technology transfer
Innovation is the lifeblood of the Swiss MEM industries and is primarily a task for companies. However, the state can make an important contribution with basic research at universities and through applied research at universities of applied science. And yet, these research findings will only create value if they reach the market as part of new products or services. For this to happen, we need rapid and effective knowledge and technology transfer (KTT) from universities to businesses.
No industrial policy needed
In the past, Switzerland has always been highly reticent with regard to the idea of a national industrial policy. This has served it well. Examples from other countries such as France show that industrial policy does not strengthen industry, but rather, over the long term, does the opposite: companies start to lose their ability to compete internationally, resulting in de-industrialization and job losses. For this reason, Swissmem is against the idea of a national industrial policy.