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Web site opens construction industry to foreign firms

Major construction could now go to firms outside Switzerland Keystone

A new web site, to be launched in June 2002, is set to give foreign construction firms the opportunity to bid for lucrative Swiss contracts.

This content was published on January 24, 2002 - 16:01

The site, www.simap.ch, will open a sector of industry worth an estimated SFr 35 billion ($30 billion). On the new site, contractors and building firms, both from Switzerland and abroad, will be able to bid for contracts in areas as diverse as bridge building, tunnel security and utilities improvements.

The project was presented to the public at Basel's building industry trade fair, "Swissbau".

Economic concerns

The portal's aim is to ensure that public funds are spent wisely and economically.

It is hoped that by giving construction firms from all over Europe the opportunity to tender for work online, the most competitive price can be reached for the Swiss authorities.

However, price is only one of the issues when it comes to financing a major public project, the website is also focused on finding the best quality for the best price.

Bilateral accords

In May 2000, the Swiss electorate voted in favour of adopting a free trade accord as part of bilateral agreements with the European Union. This accord cleared the way for foreign construction firms to bid for Swiss contracts. This means that a Swiss road tunnel for example could be built by a Spanish firm and vice versa.

The website will be available in French, German and Italian. By 2004, it may even be possible to sign contracts online, once electronic signatures are made more secure. This would mean that construction firms could bid, negotiate and finalise contracts all at the click of a mouse.

Looking ahead, the Swiss authorities hope that one day all public work contracts, services and some 5,500 Swiss associations will be accessible via the simap site.

swissinfo with agencies

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