Commodities: Federal Council continues to engage for competitive and morally sound business location

Press release, 30.11.2018

The commodities sector is an important component of the Swiss economy. In view of the progress made since 2013 and the ongoing challenges and emerging trends in this sector, the Federal Council adopted a report with 16 new recommendations during its meeting on 30 November 2018 in order to strengthen Switzerland's approach and international positioning.

Published five years after the background report on commodities of 2013, which laid the foundations for the Federal Council's approach in this area, the present report reassesses of the state of the commodities sector. The Federal Council is aware of the importance of this sector, whose receipts from merchanting accounted for 3.8% of the Swiss GDP in 2017. In view of the tougher international competition and the development of new technologies, the regulatory and political environment plays a decisive role in terms of Switzerland's appeal as a business location. The report also concludes that the commodities sector is still facing challenges regarding respect for human rights, the mobilisation of local resources to finance development, as well as the environmental protection particularly in the area of raw material extraction. In addition, the need to improve the analytical framework and the availability of quantitative data on the commodities sector is highlighted.

This report identifies three areas for action. In the first, five measures to strengthen Switzerland's competitiveness and innovative strength as a business location are recommended, all of which aim to improve the general framework conditions. As a second line of action, the report proposes seven measures to strengthen integrity and sustainability through the promotion of global standards and commitment to their implementation. As a third area for action, the report identifies four measures that target the general framework within which the activities of the commodities sector take place in Switzerland, in order to strengthen the analytical framework, dialogue with stakeholders and coordination.

The report confirms the Federal Council's existing approach for the commodities sector, which aims to maintain Switzerland's competitiveness and integrity as a business location. The Federal Council has instructed the interdepartmental platform on commodities, which is steered alternately by the Federal Department of Finance (FDF), the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER) and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), to coordinate the implementation of these recommendations and to draw up a report on the status of their implementation by the end of 2020.


Further information:

FDFA press release from 29.11.2018 on the Guidance on Implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in the commodity trading sector


Report "Swiss commodities sector: assessment and outlook"(pdf, 1370kb)


Address for enquiries:

Frank Wettstein, Communications, State Secretariat for International Finance SIF
Tel. +41 58 462 38 56, frank.wettstein@sif.admin.ch

Antje Baertschi, Communications, State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO
Tel.: +41 58 463 52 75, antje.baertschi@seco.admin.ch

FDFA Information
Tel. +41 58 462 31 53
info@eda.admin.ch


Publisher:

The Federal Council
Federal Department of Finance
Federal Department of Foreign Affairs