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Switzerland: Country and Foreign Investment

Investments by Foreigners

There are no controls on inward investment or on the repatriation of profits or capital on disinvestment, other than applicable taxes (see Domestic Corporate Taxation). Though the Swiss authorities have a laissez-faire attitude towards investment, there is relatively little official support for it, at least at federal level. However, the government does support investment in infrastructure (tourist facilities, communications and training facilities) with subsidised loans up to 25% of a financing package. There are also a few traditional, mainly rural, industries in long-term decline to which the government offers rather more generous financial support.

The picture is quite different at cantonal level, where a wide variety of investment support is available. The cantons often compete vigorously to secure attractive projects, and in many cases the terms of incoming investment are extremely negotiable. The types of support available include assistance or subsidy with land or premises, waiving of work permit requirements, tax holidays up to 10 years, cheap energy and training subsidies. Some cantons have designated industrial zones which confer some or all of these privileges.

Although most cantons are 'open to offer', some in particular are more open than others: Fribourg, Grisons (German: Graubünden), Lucerne, Schwyz, Unterwalden, Uri, Valais (Wallis) and Vaud, all of which are predominantly agricultural areas, are thought to be particularly keen on attracting inward investment.



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