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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). The Swiss authorities have a 'laissez-faire' attitude towards investment, but the other side of that coin is that there is relatively little official support for investment, at least at Federal level. However, the Government does support infrastructural investment (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 in 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 frequently compete vigorously to secure attractive projects, and the terms of incoming investment are extremely negotiable in many cases. 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 have some or all of the listed privileges.

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



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