Switzerland: Economics and Business Culture

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Switzerland is a small country in Europe of only 30,753 square miles (Presence Switzerland, n.d.) and is divided into 26 cantons, the equivalent of states in the United States. In 2011, the total population in Switzerland was 7,954,662. Of that number, 6,138,668 (77.2%) were Swiss citizens and 1,815,994 (22.8%) were foreign residents. Population density is high due to the relatively small size of the country and the high population. The Swiss have been experiencing low birth rates for years. 1998 was the first year there were more deaths than births. Population continues to increase due to immigration. 1 in 4 wage earners in Switzerland is a foreign resident. These foreign residents are mainly manual and service industry workers. In 2002, Switzerland negotiated a bilateral agreement with the European Union (of which Switzerland is not a member) allowing for free movement of workers between Switzerland and countries in the European Union and European Free Trade Area. In the decade since, the workforce in Switzerland has expanded 10% (Bradley, 2012). The Swiss people are generally aware of the economic advantages of immigration. However, there is a growing anxiety regarding the negative side effects (traffic jams, urban sprawl, housing shortages and rising cost of living). Immigration reform is something that might be looked at on the horizon, but it comes with a high cost. Revoking the bilateral agreement between Switzerland and the European Union regarding immigration would endanger all other bilateral agreements and have a catastrophic impact on the Swiss economy. Despite Switzerland’s small size, it shares borders with three major European cultures: Germany, France and Italy. This is an advantage for Switzerland,... ... middle of paper ... ...com/ch/finance_business/business/Doing-Business-in-Switzerland_11176.html Kwintessential. (n.d.). Retrieved from: http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/etiquette/doing-business-switzerland.html Presence Switzerland. (n.d) Department of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved from: http://www.swissworld.org/en/economy/ Shotter, J. (2013, March 5). Swiss rethink relationship with world’s super rich. CNBC. Retrieved from: http://www.cnbc.com/id/100523684 Switzerland Tourism. (2013). Retrieved from: http://www.myswitzerland.com/en/home.html Trading Economics. (2013). Retrieved from: http://www.tradingeconomics.com/switzerland/exports World Bank. (2013). Switzerland and the World Bank. Retrieved from: http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/WBEUROPEEXTN/SWITZERLANDEXTN/0,,contentMDK:22381063~menuPK:843881~pagePK:141137~piPK:141127~theSitePK:403817,00.html

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