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OECD Economic Surveys: Switzerland 2007

image of OECD Economic Surveys: Switzerland 2007

This edition of OECD's periodic survey of the Swiss economy finds that recent developments paint a picture of continued strength, but a number of key challenges remain, including an enormous current accout surplus, making fiscal policy more supportive of economic growth, deficiencies in the regulation of goods and services markets and further raising the contribution immigration to prosperity.

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Deficiencies in the regulation of goods and services markets remain

Measures to make the regulation of product markets more conducive to competition play a prominent role in the government’s “growth package” of measures to stimulate economic growth which are in the process of being implemented. This chapter discusses these measures und suggests further improvements. Notwithstanding significant reforms in recent years, competition law and its enforcement are still weaker than in other OECD countries. Scope for making regulation of product markets more competition-friendly is large in the network industries. While sector-specific regulators have been introduced, their independence needs to be strengthened. The reform of the electricity supply law provides the main building blocks opening the industry to competition, but vertical separation requirements of the electricity grid from electricity generation and trading activities need to be strengthened. In telecommunications, restrictions in access of competitors to the local loop limit the scope for lowering prices and improving quality of service in broadband connections. Measures still need to be taken to prevent discrimination against market entrants in the railway passenger services market and much scope exists to widen competition in postal services. Progress in lowering the degree of protection in the proposed legislation on agricultural policy 2007-11 is modest. Trade barriers can also be lowered for manufactured goods through the adoption of the Cassis de Dijon principle.

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