Investors Guide for Switzerland 2018
by the attorneys-at-law of Bratschi Ltd.
Political and legal system in Switzerland
Switzerland’s political system is marked by a unique system of direct democracy with strong pop-ular rights, allowing Swiss citizens to participate in the political process. The government consists of a seven-member Federal Council who represents different parties.
According to its Federal Constitution, Switzerland’s political structure consists of three different levels: the Confederation, the cantons and the communes. Due to this federal system, Swiss gov-ernment, Swiss businesses and Swiss society are strongly connected. The 26 cantons of Switzer-land therefore enjoy a high level of autonomy, especially in the fields of healthcare, education, culture and taxes. When picking the right business location, investors can compare benefits and advantages of the different cantonal systems and regulations.
Due to the federal system, Swiss legislation consists of federal law, cantonal law and communal law. Jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters as well as a considerable degree of law making stays in the responsibility of the cantons. The intertwined judicial system creates a strong, yet liberal legal framework.
Altogether, Switzerland’s political situation, its policy of neutrality and its reliable governance, gua-rantee a high level of dependability and security for business.
Switzerland’s role within Europe
Switzerland is not only characterised by a highly stable political and legal situation, but also by an extremely good network with other European countries. Switzerland has an outstanding reputation in the whole world and stands for innovation and technology, good education and a modern infra-structure.
Switzerland illustrates one of the world’s most advanced economies. Especially the service sec-tor – in particular the outstanding Swiss banking system and tourism sector – plays an essential role. Besides, Switzerland makes a major contribution to global technological development and innovation. For instance, some of the world’s top scientific research organizations – for example the European Organization for Nuclear Research CERN, based in the suburb of Geneva – and some of the world’s best universities for technology – such as the Federal institutes of technology, ETH and EPFL in Zurich and Lausanne – are located in Switzerland.
Also, some of the world’s most important international institutions such as the United Nations’ Pal-ace of Nations, the UN Human Rights Council, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Seite 5 | 63 World Trade Organisation and many more are based in Switzerland. Switzerland, thus, is charac-terized by a strong international network and foreign relations and depicts one of Europe’s leading locations for international institutions.
Switzerland’s role within Europe
What makes Switzerland an excellent business and company location?
Managing a successful business depends, among other things, on its location, especially as the business location determines the political and legal framework conditions for business activities. Therefore, finding the right location for investments and running businesses is essential and de-pends on many factors.
The Swiss economy is extremely stable and prosperous, leading to great wealth. Switzerland was ranked as the world’s wealthiest country per capita in multiple rankings. Also, the Swiss economy ranks first in several rankings, such as the 2015 Global Innovation Index and the 2017 Global Competitiveness Report. Switzerland’s Gross Domestic Product (hereinafter «GDP») is one of the world’s highest and its purchasing power is among the largest.
Due to its central location in Europe and its excellent reputation, Switzerland is an attractive loca-tion for highly qualified foreign workers. Switzerland thus combines not only national but also inter-national know-how for businesses. Thanks to top universities and schools, the local workforce in particular enjoys an above-average education and contributes to the high standard as a business location. Thanks to its multilingualism, the Swiss workforce speaks the four official languages plus English.
Good education, a highly qualified workforce and excellent institutions, a leading role in technology and innovation, a high degree of security and stability for investors, a liberal and competitive econ-omy with low capital costs, a stable currency, an above-average purchasing power, a moderate tax burden and overall legal and political stability: this is precisely what Switzerland can offer as a business location.