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IV. trade policies by sector - page 39 / 50





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WT/TPR/S/208Trade Policy Review Page 128

a distance-based component, and on Euro standard vehicle categories.90  The average fee for the 300 km-passage of a standard 40-tonne vehicle from Basel to Chiasso, for example, is Sw F 325.  Income from the fee amounted to Sw F 1.49 billion in 2007.


Reform of the Swiss rail system is to be achieved in two steps. The first phase, which began in 1999, obliged companies to distinguish transport services from transport infrastructure for accounting and organizational purposes.  It also established access to the Swiss rail network for all companies, against payment.  Access to the Swiss rail system by foreign undertakings has been granted on the basis of bilateral agreements, notably the bilateral agreement with the EC on land transport.  The second phase of rail reform, for which legislation is currently under preparation is aimed at increasing interoperability with railway systems of neighbouring countries and reforming financial support for the railway system.


The Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) is a joint-stock company fully owned by the Confederation;  it remains under the supervision of the Federal Council.  SBB holds exclusive rights over long-distance passenger services.  In exchange for this privilege, it is assigned specified basic tasks by the Federal Council, in particular a regular supply of basic rail transport services throughout the country.  The Swiss Confederation and cantons also provide financial assistance to rail transport suppliers for services ordered by the public authorities.  The Confederation's total financial support amounted to Sw F 2.9 billion in 2007, of which Sw F 1.7 billion was paid to SBB.  In 2006, SBB made a profit of Sw F 259 million.  Rail freight was about 11.8 million tonne-kilometres in 2007 (about 39% of total tonne-kilometre freight transport);  around 72% of total rail freight revenue was earned by SBB Cargo.


The agreement between the Swiss Confederation and the EC on the carriage of goods and passengers by rail and road (RS 0.740.72) led to further liberalization of international road transport on a bilateral basis.  The agreement allowed grand cabotage (on a reciprocal basis) for Swiss hauliers in all EC member states from 2005.91  Bilateral agreements on road passenger and freight transport have also been concluded with a number of non-EC states.92  


National road transport services are provided mainly by companies that are majority publicly owned (cantons and municipalities) and by PostBus, a subsidiary of Swiss Post.



The Office for Trade and Transport (OTT), established in January 2007, is responsible for regulating the transport subsector.  Liechtenstein does not have any highways but has 108 km of main roads and 253 km of side roads, and 9 km of railways.  It has no rail company;  the railway track is owned and operated by Austrian Federal Railways.  International road transport services for goods and passengers are supplied by private companies.  Public transport throughout the country is offered by privately owned Liechtenstein Busanstalt, which receives subsidies for its services.  Liechtenstein also applies the Swiss Heavy Vehicle Fee.  Road freight and passenger transport carriers require a permit issued by the OTT:  certain criteria must be met on, inter alia, reliability, financial standing,

90 In contrast to Germany and Austria, where the fee applies on highways only, in Switzerland it applies on all types of road.

91 However, "small cabotage" (cabotage within EC members states or within Switzerland) remains prohibited.

92 Albania, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia,  Georgia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Macedonia (FYR), Moldova, Morocco, Russia, Serbia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

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