Unsaddled by European-style labor regulations or employer obligations, with a highly stable economy, Switzerland is the world-leader for business competitiveness and innovation. Our excellent infrastructure, first-class education and healthcare, high quality of life and competitive tax system provide all the more reasons for companies to settle in Switzerland.
Switzerland's economy is based on a highly qualified labour force performing highly skilled work. The main areas include microtechnology, hitech, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, as well as banking and insurance know-how. The service sector now employs the greatest number of people.
In 2008, the service sector accounted for almost 73% of those in employment. Nearly 23% were employed in manufacturing, and less than four per cent were working in agriculture and forestry.
With its pharmaceuticals industry, federal institutes of technology and other specialised institutes and research facilities, Switzerland is well set to face the future in such fast-developing areas as biotechnology and molecular biology.
The Swiss economy is not built on mass production, but on high-quality work and well-trained workers. Many businesses have followed what they call a "niche strategy," concentrating on a small range of high-quality products. As a result even some small enterprises have been able to corner the world market in their own speciality.
Over 2.9 % of the gross national product was spent on research in 2004. The bulk of the finance - more than two thirds - was accounted for by the private sector. Only Israel, Sweden, Finland, Japan and South Korea are doing better in this regard.
Swiss companies are extremely competitive in world markets. In some branches, more than 90% of goods and services are exported.
Swiss economic policy has always been based on free trade, with low import duties and virtually no import quotas - the only exception being for agricultural produce. Even here many of the restrictions are being eased as a result of recent agreements with the EU.