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Switzerland responds to WTO criticism

Switzerland must do more to reform its agriculture, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) says in a report on Swiss trade policy issued on Monday.

The report criticises the high customs duties which Switzerland imposes on agricultural items, especially dairy products and meat.

It also says that the direct subsidies paid to farmers are too high.

It welcomes the strengthening of competitivity resulting from a new law on cartels, but point out that this is still limited in agriculture, health care and public transport.

Other areas that come in for criticism are state monopolies, such as the railways, certain postal services and salt as well as power distribution, the transport of explosives, shipping and air services.

All WTO members have to answer questions arising from a report on their activities every four years. The head of the Swiss delegation to the meeting, Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, told journalists that Switzerland was reforming its agriculture, but that the process would take time.


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