Exports of over CHF 38 billion mean an increase of 13.6 percent over the previous year's results. - In relation to legal matters, Swissmem wants to see the principle of national exhaustion adopted in patent law and is calling for a clarification of the powers of the vocational training funds: the ordinance should be amended in such a way as to ensure that companies which can demonstrate their commitment to promoting young talent cannot repeatedly be pursued for contributions. Climate policy should be drawn up with a view to an overall energy strategy and should be oriented more towards technological development and emissions trading.
New orders received by Swissmem's 290 reporting members increased by 21.6% in the first half of 2007. With an increase of 27.4%, domestic orders rose more strongly than foreign orders (20.1%). In the second quarter of 2007, foreign orders increased by 28.4% over the previous quarter, while domestic business recorded growth of 17%. Sales in the MEM industries in the first six months of 2007 lifted by 17.6% year-on-year.
At the end of March 2007, the MEM industries employed 321,642 people, an increase of 4.5% over the previous year. Capacity utilization in the second quarter was a high 93.7%.
Increase in exports
Exports for the first half of 2007 totalled CHF 38.3 billion. This is a 13.6% increase compared with the previous year. Similarly high growth rates have been achieved in each of the main markets: Germany (16.1%), France (16.3%) and Italy (18.7%). Eastern European countries continued to record soaring growth rates, for example Russia (59.5%), Poland (30.8%) and the Czech Republic (22.7%) Great Britain and the Netherlands, on the other hand, followed a downward trend, decreasing by -5.1% and -3.2% respectively. Exports to Asia increased by 8.0%, and those to North America by 2.8%. The volume of exports to Japan was unchanged on the previous year's level (0.1%).
Positive developments expected
The outlook for the Swiss MEM industries over the next twelve months remains positive. A majority of the Swissmem members surveyed are optimistic about their prospects both in Switzerland and abroad. The companies expect to see sustained demand particularly in China/Hong Kong and Eastern Europe/Russia, as well as Germany. New assessments of risk on the part of financial markets and rising raw materials prices could weaken these trends.
Swissmem – Top political issues
Swissmem supports the adoption of the principle of national exhaustion in patent law, so legally ruling out parallel imports. In Swissmem's opinion, the small potential for price reductions does not make up for the weakening of patent protection involved. On the issue of VAT reform, Swissmem is in favour of a uniform tax rate. Simplifying VAT would provide Switzerland with the efficient and modern fiscal conditions needed to give the Swiss economy a competitive edge.
The existence of various different vocational training funds leads to considerable red tape and demarcation problems and to the main goal of preserving and creating training places being missed. Swissmem is therefore calling for an amendment to the vocational training decree to the effect that companies which can demonstrate their strong commitment to promoting young talent cannot be pursued for additional contributions from various parties.
The plans for the further development of climate policy unveiled last week by the Swiss Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC/UVEK), are definitely a step in the wrong direction. They are out of line with international trends, are inefficient and will have barely any impact on climate change. Swissmem is calling for a move away from incentive taxes, since Switzerland is apparently the only country which is currently keen to use them. With regard to climate policy, solutions should be sought which aim to reduce worldwide CO2 emissions and are geared more towards trade in emission certificates and the development of efficient technologies.
Zurich, 22nd August 2007
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