Commodity trading and finance

Traditionally Switzerland has long been a location of global significance for companies in the raw material sector. Over the past ten years, this significance has grown considerably. The Swiss raw material sector includes, in particular, trading companies as well as banks specialized in the financing of raw material trading, goods inspection companies, shipping companies and insurance companies.

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Switzerland’s commodities sector continues to be significant for the Swiss economy, as reflected for instance in the receipts from merchanting – largely in commodity trading – which accounted for some 3.9% of Swiss gross domestic product (GDP) in 2014, according to the Swiss National Bank’s statistics. Given the many connections between the commodities sector and the financial sector, a prosperous commodities sector is also important for Switzerland’s financial centre. Banks, for instance, play a key role in the financing of trade in commodities.

In August 2015, the Federal Council approved and published the second status report on the implementation of the recommendations made in the background report on commodities. Real progress was made in many areas. The background report on commodities with its 17 recommendations was published in March 2013. The aim of the recommendations is 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 platform on commodities 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 report again on the status of implementation of the recommendations by the end of 2016.

Further information

Last modification 26.10.2016

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