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Strong Swiss franc causes concern

The cabinet is considering measures to offset the negative impact of the continuing strong Swiss franc on the country’s industry.

Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann said preparations were underway to extend allowances to compensate for temporary salary cuts and to speed up the purchase of new fighter jets – triggering business deals with foreign companies in return.

The cabinet on Wednesday also eased access for small and medium-sized companies to funds for research and development projects.

However, Schneider-Ammann said there were no plans to grant subsidies to industry or to curb the independence of the Swiss National Bank.

”The Swiss economy is still growing at the moment but problems for the country’s export industry and tourism will become apparent if the pressure on the Swiss currency persists,” he told a news conference.

He added that unemployment – currently at 2.9 per cent – was likely to rise next year and companies would no longer be in a position to invest in innovation.

The Swiss franc has gained 25 per cent in value against the euro and the dollar over the past four years.

The cabinet is due to discuss currency issues and the financial crisis in Greece again during the last meeting before the summer recess at the beginning of next month.

swissinfo.ch


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