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Parliamentary report criticises cantons

A report commissioned by a key committee of the House of Representatives has criticised the cantons for making too little effort to open up the domestic market.

The committee is calling on the government to intervene with the cantons so that they guarantee free access to the domestic market without discrimination.

The report was commissioned to find out the liberalisation effects of the federal law on the domestic market. Introduced in January 1996, the law was part of a package of measures designed to stimulate the economy after the Swiss turned down joining the European Economic Area.

Eight problem areas were singled out for examination, including taxi services, the plumbing trade, travelling sales people and natural therapies.

"The law has had practically no effect and the opening up that had been expected did not take place," the report said.

The authors of the report say that the law has also had only limited effect in other areas, including paramedical services, opticians, and the hotel and restaurant business.

However, the report says that the law helped contribute to liberalisation in the sale of medicaments by post and in the simplification of examination procedures for lawyers.

swissinfo with agencies