Switzerland no longer wants ‘high price island’ status

The Swiss government announced it will ease import duties on a wide range of goods to give consumers a better deal in this traditional “high price island” nation. According to the Federal Council, the measures will bring savings for businesses and shoppers worth CHF900 million (913 million dollar).

Import taxes on industrial goods, such as cars and clothing, will be ditched altogether. Duties on selected agricultural imports, including bananas and other exotic fruit, will be reduced. Tariffs will remain however for foodstuffs that are also grown in Switzerland.

Swissinfo saw a Federal Council statement, claiming that “Many businesses in Switzerland will benefit from cheaper intermediate goods and less paperwork. This will enable them to produce their own goods more cheaply and so be more competitive on international markets.” However, it warned that removing or lowering duties could reduce revenues by “several hundred million francs”.

Swiss consumers have long endured having to pay between 40% and 70% more for items than neighbouring countries. Companies also complain they are charged more for the same supplies than EU competitors. While some observers blame higher wages and infrastructure costs for inflated prices in Switzerland, others point the finger of blame at protectionist import duties and yet others decry foul tactics from foreign suppliers.

On December 12, there was the “Fair Price Initiative” which declared war on general importers and foreign suppliers ‘ who abuse their power’ . It wants to prosecute foreign suppliers who abuse the Swiss purchasing power to charge exorbitant prices for their goods.

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