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Swiss economics minister calls for further reforms

The Swiss Economics Minister Pascal Couchepin -- backed by the State-Secretary in the ministry, David Syz (l) -- on Wednesday called for energetic reforms to improve the growth of Switzerland’s economy.

The Swiss Economics Minister Pascal Couchepin — backed by the State-Secretary in the ministry, David Syz (l) — on Wednesday called for energetic reforms to improve the growth of Switzerland’s economy.

Presenting the guidelines of his economic programme for the next four years on the shores of Lake Biel, Couchepin told journalists he wanted the economy to pursue a course of solid growth without endangering social peace

Couchepin argued that growth was the main engine for economic well-being, the creation of jobs and innovation.

The economics ministry would encourage conditions which would pave the way for an open economy, competitive industrial and services sectors and innovative research and education, Couchepin said.

“Economic growth not only increases the material well-being of a society, but also assures political stability,” he said.

He added that, while the agenda of Swiss economic policy over the next four years was a full one, important legal reforms within the economy had already been made, in particular with the new cartel law and the federal law on the domestic market.

Reforms, he said, must continue in order to strengthen economic growth which was needed so as not to endanger the progress made in social and environmental areas.

The director of the technical universities in Switzerland, Hans Sieber, said the specialised higher education establishments had to develop new skills in terms of applied research and development, technology transfer with the economy as well as offering their services to third parties.

Also on the economic front, 24 leading economists in Switzerland on Wednesday revised their growth forecast for the Swiss economy downwards.

They said that GNP would rise by only 1.13 percent, due to lower expansion rates of both investments and exports.

However, the business economists of Zurich expect economic growth to pick up next year.

They feel that unemployment will continue to fall and inflation will rise only slightly this year.

The economists expect that the euro will remain stable against the Swiss franc but the U.S. dollar will lose some of its present strength. They see the dollar at SFr1.45 in a year’s time.


Sources: APD, sda-ats

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