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SVI 16. February 2024 0 Comments

Bern, 15.02.2024 – On February 14, 2024, the Federal Council took note of the SME Forum’s activity report for the last four years. The work of this extra-parliamentary commission has once again helped to slow down the increase in the administrative burden on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Switzerland. In the opinion of companies, however, the burden continues to increase due to the ongoing flood of regulation.

Over the last ten years, Swiss companies have pointed to a net increase in the administrative burden and regulatory costs. This is shown by the results of surveys and studies conducted by the federal government and other organizations. Several measures helped to reduce costs in certain areas or at least prevented a further increase. At the same time, however, numerous new regulations have been passed, which are undermining the positive effects of the relief measures introduced.

Rapid implementation of the new Corporate Relief Act
In view of the continuing flood of regulations, the members of the extra-parliamentary SME Forum Commission are calling for the new Corporate Relief Act (UEG) to be implemented quickly. They hope that the increase in the administrative burden and the rise in costs for SMEs in Switzerland can be slowed down more effectively with the measures planned in the UEG (better estimation of regulatory costs, audit obligations, sector studies, further development of e-government, etc.).

In particular, legislative developments in the area of due diligence obligations are likely to cause additional work for companies in Switzerland in the coming years. This is partly due to a zero-risk policy, which means that companies must now act in accordance with the principle of prudence in all areas and document their actions at every single stage. This trend can be observed in numerous sectors and is also confirmed by international developments (new regulations in the European Union, the Groupe d’action financière FATF, etc.).

Reduce technical barriers to trade, but…
In the opinion of the members of the SME Forum, it is very important to reduce technical barriers to trade, while retaining as much leeway as possible. For this reason, they are against an indiscriminate systematic adaptation of our law to EU law if such an adaptation is not necessary due to bilateral agreements. In view of the erosion of multilateralism and the emergence of new economic blocs, they also believe that Swiss companies must be able to continue doing business anywhere in the world. Future regulations that provide for due diligence obligations should therefore not have the consequence for Swiss SMEs that imports from certain regions are no longer possible due to the excessive administrative burden or costs, or that companies can no longer carry out economic activities there.

Link to the press release