Counted per inhabitant, Switzerland is one of
the world's richest countries. The standard of living is
very high, unemployment is quite modest and inflation is
low. Raw materials are bad, they are mainly imported.
Instead, prosperity is based on banking and financial
services, a modern industrial sector with the
manufacture and export of machinery and electronics,
among others, and tourism.
Thanks to political stability, a conflict-free labor
market and a business-friendly climate, many
international companies have applied to the country.
Investments in education, research and innovation
contribute to success. The government's economic policy
is based on a liberal market economy with as few state
interventions as possible.
Major imports by Switzerland, covering a full list of top products imported by the country and trade value for each product category.
Switzerland is one of the world's leading financial
centers, with a wide range of banks and other financial
institutions. The financial system accounts for over 10
percent of gross domestic product (GDP). In addition to
general stability, a well-developed network of capital
services and strict banking secrecy has helped to secure
Switzerland's strong position. However, banking secrecy
has seriously begun to loosen up, following
long-standing international criticism. The US, the EU
and the economic cooperation organization OECD have
pushed for greater transparency in the banking and
Claims first came mainly from the United States, when
it was found that major drug syndicates "laundered"
illegally accessed money in Swiss banks. Then in the
late 1990s came the demands for clarity on the accounts
that persecuted Jews opened before and during the Second
World War. By law, banks are now required to inform
authorities about transactions suspected of being linked
to crime. Switzerland has also increasingly been forced
to reverse its banking secrecy for residents in other
countries. From 2005, Switzerland began taxing interest
on EU residents' accounts in the country, transferring
the money to the account holder's home country. From
2009, Switzerland signed bilateral agreements to
exchange information on accounts; after a few years,
agreements had been signed with some 50 countries.
Abbreviationfinder.org: Check this abbreviation website to find three letter ISO codes for all countries in the world, including SUI which represents the country of Switzerland.
The United States has also been pushing the issue,
but to a greater extent through the judiciary. A dozen
banks have been accused of actively assisting in fraud
against the US state by hiding assets in secret bank
accounts. The United States has settled with the two
largest Swiss banks: UBS agreed to pay $ 780 million in
damages in 2009, and to release lists of 4,500 people
with accounts, while in 2014 Crédit Suisse agreed to pay
$ 2.6 billion. Switzerland's oldest bank Wegelin,
founded in 1741, closed again after pleading guilty in
2013 to helping US citizens evade taxes. Swiss finance
companies no longer accept US customers and no longer
have US assets on accounts in Switzerland.
German, French and Belgian authorities have also
launched investigations against Swiss banks. Even in the
area of corporate taxes, pressure has increased on
Switzerland in recent years.
Other external circumstances also affect the economy.
The global financial crisis of 2008 left its mark, as
did the subsequent eurozone debt crisis. The increased
investor interest in the Swiss franc, and the exchange
rate rose sharply against the euro and the dollar. The
export industry experienced problems and for the tourism
sector, the expensive currency meant that foreign
tourists did not show up. As a result, in September
2011, the central bank decided that the franc should
cost a maximum of EUR 1.20. The pressure on the currency
continued, despite more countermeasures. It became
expensive for the central bank to buy euros. In January
the ceiling against the euro was abandoned and the franc
was allowed to float freely. The result was that the
franc was speeding, with a new decline in the
competitiveness of industry and the tourism industry as
FACTS - FINANCE
GDP per person
US $ 82,839 (2018)
US $ 705,501 M (2018)
2.5 percent (2018)
Agriculture's share of GDP
0.7 percent (2018)
Manufacturing industry's share of GDP
18.3 percent (2018)
The service sector's share of GDP
71.3 percent (2018)
0.6 percent (2019)
Government debt's share of GDP
40.5 percent (2018)