Switzerland practices values such as humanity, diplomacy and tolerance. In terms of foreign policy, the Swiss Confederation acts in accordance with the principle of neutrality. Political stability, legal certainty, a predictable business environment and a liberalized trade and innovation-based economy make Switzerland today one of the world’s most competitive economies as well a top leading innovator. The success of the Swiss economy is built on high-quality products, cutting-edge technology, highly qualified workers, efficient infrastructure and excellence in research and development. According to the “Global Competitiveness Report 2013-2014”, Switzerland retains its position as the world’s most competitive economy, thanks “to innovation and labor market efficiency as well as the sophistication of its business sector. Switzerland’s top-notch scientific institutions, along with other factors, make the country a top-innovator“.
As a small country with scarce natural resources, the Swiss economy, which is dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises, is strongly export-oriented. For this reason, the Federal Government supports the Swiss export industry with the conclusion of free-trade agreements, and today, in addition to the EFTA Convention and the Free Trade Agreement with the European Union (EU) of 1972, Switzerland has a network of 28 free trade agreements. The best-known export items are watches, chocolate and cheese, with mechanical and electrical engineering and chemicals together accounting for over half Swiss export revenues. Switzerland’s per capita gross domestic product (GDP) is one of the largest in the world, with the service sector generating approx. 70% of the GDP while the industry sector comprises around 28% of GDP. Switzerland offers a wide range of financial and insurance products and services and is well-known as one of the world’s key financial centers. Swiss industry concentrates on high-quality, specialized and innovative products with a long tradition in watch-making, chemical and pharmaceutical industry, medical technology and well-known dairy and chocolate products. For instance, the famous Swiss chocolate “Toblerone” was invented by Theoder Tobler in 1908 while “Emental” cheese is considered to be one of the most difficult cheeses to be produced.