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Swiss Business Outlook Weak, Says Economiesuisse

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

19 July 2002


Economiesuisse, the Swiss business federation announced on Wednesday that Switzerland's economy is still 'subdued', and ruled out the prospect of a real recovery this year.

Downgrading its growth forecast for 2002 from 1.5% to just 1%, the federation explained that the downward revision was - at least in part - due to the global economic slowdown, which has hit several Swiss industries very hard.

Economiesuisse explained that one factor undermining export competitiveness is the ongoing strength of the Swiss franc. According to the business group, this is likely to adversely affect the chemical, watchmaking, food, paper and electronics industries, among others.

However, there was good news for the country's tourist industry, which has weathered the storm created by September 11 and the ensuing global economic slowdown remarkably well. The Swiss business federation predicted that the increasing number of Swiss residents who choose to holiday ay home should bring about a recovery for the tourism sector in the second half of this year.

Meanwhile, the Swissinfo news service reported on Thursday that Switzerland's government has presented a formal request for United Nations membership to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Although the application is little more than a formality it remains highly symbolic, as this is the first time that Switzerland - famed for its neutrality - has chosen to ally itself with a political organisation.

According to the news service, Mr Annan described Wednesday's request as a 'wonderful and wise decision'.


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