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Franc debate Parliament targets red tape for businesses

Pre-election theatricals: People's Party parliamentarian Adrian Amstutz launches a verbal attack against too much bureaucracy 

(Keystone)

The government is facing calls by parliament to reduce the administrative burden for businesses struggling to cope with strong Swiss franc.

The House of Representatives approved a series of proposals aimed at limiting the number of legal requirements for companies and exempting firms with fewer than 50 employees from providing statistical data to the authorities.

However, the other parliamentary chamber, the Senate, still has to agree to the motions.

Wednesday’s debate pitted the political parties to the right and the centre against the left, which failed to find a majority for its proposals to prop up the Swiss economy and to tackle the risk of increased unemployment.

The Social Democrats and the Greens called for additional funds to boost innovation and to protect older employees from losing their jobs.

Prospects

Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann said he shared concerns about de-industrialisation in Switzerland and an economic downturn.

He called on business leaders to act responsibly, but dismissed calls for a stronger role for the state in the market economy.

“It is crucial to create legal certainty and reduce costs to remain competitive and keep unemployment low,” he said.

The official jobless rate in August was 3.2%, while economic growth at the end of this year is estimated at 1%.

Schneider-Ammann reiterated the government’s support of the monetary policy of the Swiss National Bank, which lifted the currency exchange rate of CHF1.20 against the euro last January. As a result the franc soared, briefly reaching parity with the euro, notably straining the Swiss export industry and the tourist sector.

The economics minister also said the government had launched a programme in 2013 to reduce the administrative burden for companies.

Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch and agencies


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