Switzerland and LiechtensteinWT/TPR/S/208 Page 109
Technical regulations in the construction sector are initiated mostly by the Swiss Society of Engineers and Architects (SIA), a member of the Swiss Association for Standardization (Chapter III(2)(x)). However, the SIA has to withdraw national technical regulations whenever corresponding European technical regulations are adopted. Furthermore, in spring 2008, Switzerland and the EC included a chapter on construction goods into their mutual recognition agreement.
The 1995 Federal Law on the internal market (Chapter III(4)(iii)) was expected to establish a unified construction market in Switzerland, by eliminating barriers such as local residence and establishment requirements, and membership obligations in local trade associations, and by opening up procurement at the sub-federal level. The LMI states that goods, services, and labour legally eligible for access to one canton can also be offered in any other canton. Nonetheless, competition is still limited in Switzerland's construction industry, which has suffered from various restrictive arrangements and other anti-competitive practices among suppliers. Since the last TPR of Switzerland and Liechtenstein in 2004, the Competition Commission has undertaken inquiries, covering road surfacing, "price supports" for electricians by an installation company, joint price lists of brick producers, and a merger between two major construction companies (Chapter III(4)(iii)).
The non-financial services regime also applies to construction services (Chapter II(5)(ii)). In the public sector, both the GPA and the EEA regimes apply. Liechtenstein has included MFN exemptions under Article II of the GATS to ensure "adequate" market access to local suppliers of construction and related engineering services.32 However, the authorities indicate that this reciprocity requirement has never been applied in practice, and that Liechtenstein intends to give up the MFN exemption in the framework of its next revised offer.
(ii) Financial services
Switzerland's financial services subsector employed 192,900 in 2007, equivalent to 5.9% of total employment, and contributed 11.8% to GDP. In Liechtenstein, financial services accounted for 29% of GDP in 2005, the latest year for which figures are available.
Under the 1980 Currency Treaty between Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Swiss monetary policy is also applicable to Liechtenstein; the Swiss franc has been used as legal tender in Liechtenstein since 1924. The Swiss National Bank (SNB) has the same powers over, and obligations to, Swiss and Liechtenstein banks. Under the 2004 Federal Law on the Swiss National Bank, SNB pursues a monetary policy aimed at price stability, taking due account of economic development. In addition, the SNB must contribute to the stability of the financial system. The Act and the corresponding ordinance also clarify the SNB's oversight responsibilities as regards payment and securities clearing, and settlement systems.
In their specific commitments under the GATS, Switzerland and Liechtenstein have, with certain limitations, made commitments in all subsectors included in the Annex on Financial Services.33 Going beyond the Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services, both countries
32 See WTO documents GATS/EL/83 and GATS/EL/83-A, 15 April 1994 for Final Lists of Article II (MFN) Exemptions for Switzerland and Liechtenstein, respectively.
33 WTO document GATS/SC/83/Suppl. 4, 26 February 1998.