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IV. trade policies by sector - page 35 / 50





35 / 50

WT/TPR/S/208Trade Policy Review Page 124

aTotal inhabitants:  35,000.

bADSL + dial-up.

Source: Office for Communications.

(iv) Postal services

(a) Switzerland


The Federal Law on postal services of 1997 is the legal basis for postal services in Switzerland.76  It divides the Swiss postal services market into three segments:  "reserved" services, offered exclusively by Swiss Post as a monopoly under its universal services obligations;  non-reserved services, also offered by Swiss Post under its universal services obligations, but in competition with other suppliers;  and liberalized services.  Reserved services consist of domestic and incoming international letters, not exceeding 100 g.77  The universal services obligations defined in the Federal Law on postal services include postal deliveries on at least five days a week in all parts of Switzerland, "in good quality and at reasonable prices".  Compliance with the universal service obligations is monitored by the Postal Regulation Authority (PostReg), established in January 2004.  Full market opening from April 2012 is under consideration.


Non-reserved services, which can also be offered by licensed private operators, consist of outbound international services for letters and all postal services (domestic and international) for packages up to 20 kg.  Licences, which are provided by the Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy, and Communications according to the revised Ordinance on postal services78, are required if sales exceed Sw F 100,000.  In February 2008, licences had been granted to 27 companies.  All other services can be provided freely by private, including foreign, suppliers, and are not subject to monopoly rights or licensing.  


Swiss Post is fully owned and controlled by the Confederation.  It employs some 41,000 staff, making it the second-largest employer in Switzerland, with a network of 2,469 post offices in 2008 (down from about 3,500 in 2000).  Swiss Post receives an annual subsidy from the Federal Government for the delivery of newspapers with subscription;  the subsidy was reduced from Sw F 80 million to Sw F 30 million in January 2008.  In addition to providing postal services, Swiss Post manages 3.3 million deposit accounts and is thus a significant participant in the financial services market (see also Chapter IV(5)(ii)).

(b) Liechtenstein


Postal services are supplied by Liechtensteinische Post AG, a majority state-owned company.  In line with the Post Law of 1999, amended in 2004, and EC directive (2002/39/EC) on postal services, it enjoys exclusive rights over letters of up to 50 g (up to 100 g until December 2005).  All other postal services have been fully liberalized, and Liechtensteinische Post AG provides them in competition with several private operators, mostly from Switzerland.

(v) Transport

(a) Air transport


76 The law (RS 783.0) was amended in 2000, 2003, 2006, and 2007.

77 Before April 2006, the threshold was 1 kg.

78 RS. 783.01, in force since 1 January 2004.

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