GENEVA, March 27 A landmark Swiss government
report into regulating the country's $20 billion commodities
sector has stopped short of proposing any new or tighter rules
on trading companies.
The long-awaited report published on Wednesday said around
500 companies in the sector and their 10,000 employees
contributed about 3.5 percent to Swiss GDP, and that Switzerland
needed to regulate the sector without chasing them away.
Switzerland, home to commodities giants like Glencore and
Cargill, has come under pressure from left-wing campaigners and
other western countries to close regulatory gaps.
"There is no evidence, at present, of a general trend
amongst companies to move away from Switzerland, but much will
depend on whether Switzerland succeeds, also in the future, in
providing a competitive legal and economic setting for
conducting business," it said.
"Switzerland thus faces the challenge of maintaining and
strengthening the features that make it an attractive and
reliable business location, including the competitiveness of its
tax regime and the efficiency of its financial centres."
The report said the industry faced real and reputational
challenges such as human rights, environmental protection,
transparency and corruption, but such questions must be dealt
with "in a constructive and sufficiently nuanced manner".
"Switzerland has a strategic interest in supporting the
sustainable development also of this industry," it said.
The report's 17 recommendations, which were adopted by
Switzerland's Federal Council, mainly sought to reinforce
existing standards and support international efforts to
strengthen transparency, without promising any unilateral
Swiss officals had previously told Reuters that commodity
firms, including the trading sector, should police themselves.