Further progress achieved on subject of commodities
Bern, 02.12.2016 - On 2 December the Federal Council approved the third status report on the implementation of the recommendations made in the background report on commodities. The status report provides an overview of the state of implementation for each of the seventeen recommendations. It shows that further important progress has been made to further strengthen the conditions for the commodities sector and reduce risks.
On 27 March 2013, the Federal Council acknowledged the background report on commodities and its recommendations. The current status report shows that further important progress has been achieved since the last report August 2015 in the areas of locational factors, transparency, corporate responsibility, government responsibility, development policy, double taxation agreements, transfer pricing and reputational risks. The dialogue with actors outside the Confederation and within the interdepartmental platform on commodities was further encouraged.
The general approach of the ongoing work - sustaining or improving conditions for the commodities sector and reducing risks incl. reputational risks, among other things through greater transparency - has proven to be effective. The Federal Council continues to believe it is worthwhile for Switzerland to play an active part in the further development of multilateral standards in the commodities sector and to implement them. It is important for there to be an internationally coordinated approach so that Swiss firms are not put at a disadvantage given the tough competition among business locations.
Overall it is possible to say that the state of implementation is quite advanced with regard to many of the recommendations, while in individual cases the recommendations can already be considered to have been fulfilled. Other recommendations are of an ongoing nature and their state of implementation is more difficult to measure. The Federal Council is confident that it will be possible to implement the majority of the recommendations in the next one to two years. It has therefore commissioned the interdepartmental platform on commodities with the task of conducting a fresh assessment of the state of the Swiss commodities sector by November 2018 in terms of its competitiveness, integrity, environmental and other aspects. The interdepartmental platform on commodities will remain in place and continue its current work.
While the level of interest in the subject of commodities has subsided somewhat at international level, such as in the G20, and in the international press, there continues to be a focus on the commodities sector at national level. The commodities sector, particularly trade in commodities, is an important branch of the Swiss economy. Although receipts from merchanting have fallen slightly over the last three years compared to the highs of 2010 and 2012, they still account for around 3.8% of the country's GDP.
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