Investment Opportunities in Switzerland
Protection of Foreign Investment
- Bilateral Investment Conventions Signed By Switzerland
- Switzerland has signed many investment protection treaties, out of which 112 are in force. UNCTAD allows you to visualize the list of conventions signed by Switzerland.
- International Controversies Registered By UNCTAD
- Switzerland has not been involved in any major international disagreement concerning foreign investment in the recent past because of its transparent and liberal foreign investment policy.
- Organizations Offering Their Assistance in Case of Disagreement
ICCWBO , International court of arbitration, International chamber of commerce
ICSID , International Center for settlement of Investment Disputes
United States Council for international Business.
- Member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency
- Switzerland is a member of MIGA. The MIGA website gives a detailed description of all the guarantees it proposes.
Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors
|Index of Manager’s Responsibility**||5.0||5.2||9.0||5.0|
|Index of Shareholders’ Power***||4.0||6.8||9.0||5.0|
|Index of Investor Protection****||3.0||6.0||8.3||5.0|
Source: Doing Business
Note: *The Greater the Index, the More Transparent the Conditions of Transactions. **The Greater the Index, the More the Manager is Personally Responsible. *** The Greater the Index, the Easier it Will Be For Shareholders to Take Legal Action. **** The Greater the Index, the Higher the Level of Investor Protection.
Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment
- Freedom of Establishment
- Acquisition of Holdings
Acquiring a majority stake of a local company is legal in Switzerland.
- Obligation to Declare
- No such declarations are required. However, in order to prevent the misuse of its very liberal market framework, the Swiss government has introduced Due Diligence Guidelines in the banking industry under which banks must identify the beneficial owner of the invested funds. The government has also instructed Swiss banks to abandon anonymous numbered bank accounts, keep banking records ten years after the closing of an account, and to refrain from actively assisting customers to evade tax.
- Competent Organization For the Declaration
Federal Department of Finance
Federal Banking Commission (EBK)
Swiss National Bank
- Requests For Specific Authorizations
- Companies working in sectors like banking and insurance need to seek government permission to invest directly in the country.
Office Real Estate and Land Ownership
- Possible Temporary Solutions
- Ready to move office spaces (on rent) are available in the country. They offer complete infrastructure to start business operations.
- The Possibility of Buying Land and Industrial and Commercial Buildings
There is complete freedom to buy land & buildings for commercial purpose in the country.
- Risk of Expropriation
- The constitution guarantees the property rights. There has not been any major expropriation in the recent past. However as per their constitutional powers, the federal and cantonal governments can, through a legal process, expropriate or restrict property for reasons of public interest. In such cases, full compensation is paid.
- Forms of Aid
- Investment incentives are offered at the federal and canton levels, which could include: Tax holidays or reduced tax rates up to 10 years. Subsidies on interest of bank loans. Offering loan guarantees.
The incentives as well as the regions for which incentives are available are specified in the so called “Lex Bonny Decree”.
- Privileged Domains
- Large scale investments in manufacturing and service sectors with potential for job creation are preferred.
- Privileged Geographical Zones
- There are warehouses in the country where goods can be imported duty-free as long as these goods are subsequently re-exported.
Moreover, Swiss international airports have stores offering duty free shopping.
- Free Zones
- No free zones exist in the country.
- Organizations Which Finance
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
- The Key Sectors of the National Economy
- Travel & Tourism, Medical and security equipment, Scientific and educational equipment & instruments, Aircraft and automobile spare parts, Electricity generation and distribution, Information Technology & Telecommunication, Agriculture.
- High Potential Sectors
- Bio- and nano- technology, venture capital funds, IT & telecommunication, High-tech equipment.
- Privatization Programs
- Privatization programs are going on slowly but surely in sectors like railways, post office, telecommunication and power. This is taking place mainly due to pressure from market globalization and European integration.
- Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
SVME, Swiss Procurement Forum
Tenders Info, Tenders in Switzerland
Ted - Tenders Electronic daily, Business opportunities in EU 27
DgMarket, Tenders Worldwide
Sectors Where Investment Opportunities Are Fewer
- Monopolistic Sectors
- Postal services and power & water distribution.
Earlier telecommunication and transport (e.g. railways) sectors were also monopolistic, but have been liberalized now.
- Sectors in Decline
Finding Assistance For Further Information
- Investment Aid Agency
Swiss Foreign Investment Agency
- Other Useful Resources
Federal Department of Economic Affairs (FDEA)
Federal Commercial Registry Office
- Doing Business Guides
The Lexmundi guide “Doing Business” about Switzerland
The Deloitte “International Tax and Business Guide” about Switzerland
Switzerland Commercial Guide 2010 - Buy USA
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