Switzerland: Proposals to strengthen rules for "Made in Switzerland” designations with implications for local content
On 25 March 2009, the Federal Council decided to include foodstuffs as part of the legislative amendment project to strengthen protection for “Made in Switzerland” designations and the Swiss Cross (the ‘Swissness’ project). The project has been approved and presented to the parliament on 18 November 2009. The ‘Swissness’ project aims to protect the designation of origin “Switzerland” and the Swiss Cross at home and abroad and thereby to reinforce the value of the Swiss label.
Having investigated how food origin rules and declaration obligations can co-exist, the Federal Council decided that and how the ‘Swissness’ rules for food should be applied. In particular, the law should prevent that legally correct information is used for promotional purpose (respectively as a label), if the criteria for promotional labelling as "Swiss product" are not satisfied. Moreover, at least 80 percent of raw materials’ weight should come from Switzerland, if the product is promoted as Swiss; and the main manufacturing processes must be done in Switzerland. (Please consider exceptions to these general rules, press release of the Federal Department of Justice and Police on 26 March 2009.) Exceptions are envisaged when raw materials and commodities are not locally produced.
For industrial products, the Federal Council decided that a proposal that one requirement for the "Made in Switzerland" label be that least 60 percent of production costs be incurred in Switzerland was appropriate. The current requirement is 50 percent. In this regard it is noteworthy that the Swiss watch industry demanded an 80 percent share of production costs be local.
The implementation of this measure is likely to reduce demand for imported raw materials, commodities, parts and components.
The implementation was delayed by the Council of State due to massive disaccords with the National Council. On 11 December 2012, the Council of State decided not to follow the 60 percent proposal for industrial products and keep the current 50 percent requirement.
On 11 March 2013, the National Council renewed its demand for a 60 percent threshold and added a 100 percent requirement for milk products.
On 2 May 2013, the Council of States Committee for Legal Affairs followed the reasoning of the National Council, hence the main criteria are decided. Nevertheless further minor adjustments will be done in summer.
Any Evidence-Based Deliberation:
|Is there anything in the public record to suggest that evidence of the effectiveness of the proposed measure was considered during official deliberations?||Yes|
|Is there any evidence that alternatives to the proposed measure were considered?||Yes|
|Is there anything in the public record that suggests that empirical evidence informed the comparison across the alternatives available to government?||Don't Know|
|Was such evidence identified?||Don't Know|
|Is such evidence publicly available?||Don't Know|
|Did the official decision-maker in question provide an explanation as to why a chosen measure was favoured over alternatives?||Don't Know|
|Is there any evidence to suggest that potentially affected trading partners were consulted before the measures were taken?||No|
|Is there any evidence that safeguards have been put in place to ensure that implementation of the initiative is transparent and non-discriminatory?||No|
|Did the government state its intention to review the measure within one year of implementation?||No|
Date Discovered: 28/07/2009
Date of inception:
GTA Evaluation: Amber
1) Press release, 26 March 2009, by the Federal Department of Justice and Police (https://www.ige.ch/fileadmin/user_upload/Juristische_Infos/d/j10818d.pdf)
2) Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property: website with all available documents on this issue (https://www.ige.ch/en/legal-info/legal-areas/made-in-switzerland.html)
3) Press release, 11 November 2009, by the Federal Council (http://www.news.admin.ch/message/index.html?lang=de&msg-id=30165)
Further information of potential interest can be found in:
"Fine-tuning 'Swissness' for recessionary times", International Herald Tribune, 25-26 July 2009.
Update: NZZ newspaper article (german)