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Collecting signatures

Campaigners launch ‘initiative for fair prices’

A broad alliance of business groups, consumer organisations and political parties have launched an initiative aimed at combating unfair pricing practices for imported products.

“Multinational companies keep prices up in Switzerland arbitrarily to absorb the high purchasing power. Consumers, small- and medium-sized entreprises (SMEs) and state-run schools or hospitals pay the price,” said Prisca Birrer-Heimo at a news conference on Tuesday.

The president of a leading consumer organisation criticised the fact that Swiss prices are often higher for identical products in neighbouring countries. She said some cosmetics or fashion products cost 40% to 70% more than in Germany.

Oliver Müller, director of Swissmechanic – an umbrella organisation of SMEs in the machinery and engineering sector – said 50% price increases on imported machinery parts were frequent, but Swiss companies often had no choice but to accept the dominant position of importers.

The initiative wants to tighten anti-cartel regulations and put pressure on parliament to resume efforts on a legal amendment.

Two years ago, parliament rejected a government bill on stricter rules to combat abuses.

The committee now has 18 months to collect at least 100,000 signatures to force a nationwide vote on the initiative.

Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch


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