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Reform of EU trade barriers mooted

Parliament has approved in principle a plan to abolish trade barriers for products licensed in European Union countries.

This content was published on April 29, 2009 - 12:45

The House of Representatives on Wednesday voted in favour of a government proposal aimed at lowering prices for consumer goods, despite opposition by the rightwing Swiss People's Party and the Greens.

They argued Switzerland should not introduce the so-called Cassis de Dijon rule unilaterally without winning similar pledges by the EU.

However, the house agreed to maintain the rule for foodstuffs and about 20 other goods.

Economics Minister Doris Leuthard told parliament she was astonished by the emotional debate.

She said reform would boost competition, trigger economic growth and lead to savings of about SFr2 billion ($1.8 billion) a year.

The Senate approved the bill in principle in March, but discussions will continue later this year to iron out differences.

swissinfo with agencies

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