Commodity trading and finance

For a long time, Switzerland has been a major global commodity trading centre. The sector has grown remarkably over the past ten years. The Swiss commodity sector includes trading companies as well as banks specialised in the financing of commodity trading, goods inspection companies, shipping companies and insurance companies.


The commodity sector continues to be significant for the Swiss economy, as reflected for instance in the receipts from merchanting – largely from the commodity sector – which accounted for some 3.7% of Swiss GDP in 2016, according to the Swiss National Bank's statistics. Given the many connections between the commodity sector and the financial sector, a prosperous commodity sector is also important for Switzerland's financial centre. Banks play a key role in the financing of commodity trading, for instance.

In December 2016, the Federal Council approved and published the third status report on the implementation of the recommendations made in the 2013 background report on commodities. Real progress has been made in many areas. The background report on commodities was published in March 2013. It contains 17 recommendations which aim to maintain Switzerland’s competitiveness as a business location and take specific action to address the risks associated with companies’ activities in terms of human rights, environmental and social standards, corruption and reputation.

The Federal Council believes that Switzerland is well positioned by international standards with regard to its efforts to ensure a competitive and morally sound location for commodity companies, and it attaches great importance to these efforts. It has instructed the interdepartmental commodities platform under the joint leadership of the Federal Department of Finance (FDF), the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER) and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) to draw up a new assessment of the Swiss commodity sector's situation by the end of 2018 in order to determine whether the authorities should take measures in relation to competitiveness, integrity, the environment or other aspects.

Further information

Last modification 20.02.2018

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