Switzerland too complex for foreign investors

Professor Stéphane Garelli says Switzerland needs to change to stay competitive. RDB

Stéphane Garelli, a professor at Lausanne's prestigious IMD business school, says Switzerland is too complicated and expensive for foreign investors.

This content was published on December 7, 2005 - 20:01

Speaking on Wednesday, he said that to remain competitive the country had to change, and must narrow the gulf between sluggish domestic consumption and a booming export sector.

Garelli was addressing a forum in Zurich organised by the Osec Business Network Switzerland – an association that promotes Swiss exports.

"Switzerland is too complicated" for most foreign investors, Garelli told his audience. While the Netherlands or Sweden were less attractive than Switzerland in tax terms, the simplicity of their administrative procedures gave them an advantage, the economics professor said.

Areas such as education and security needed to be centralised, he said, along with certain administrative procedures.

The IMD professor added that the legislative process also needed to be simplified.

"Before creating a new law we should abolish the old one," Garelli said.

Need to act

"In Switzerland we examine good ideas until they have become bad ideas," the professor continued. "We should forge ahead and make decisions."

Garelli blamed Switzerland's weak domestic consumption on the Swiss people's strong instinct to save.

"We don't consume enough and we love insurance policies," he commented, and suggested that extending shopping hours would encourage the Swiss to buy more.

Garelli stressed the importance of Switzerland's exports. He said the developing countries were the biggest growth area and constituted a key market for Swiss service industries, particularly banking and tourism.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

IMD claims to be one of the world's leading business schools with over 50 years' experience in developing the leadership capabilities of international business executives at every stage of their careers.
The majority of programme participants come from medium to large corporations and all have an international orientation to their businesses.

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In brief

Founded in 1927, Osec is a private non-profit association with the aim of promoting Swiss exports.

It was renamed Osec Business Network Switzerland and remains the government's organisation to push Swiss exports.

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