Swiss chem trade group urges tax cuts to offset strong Swiss franc

03 October 2011 19:30  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Switzerland’s government needs to do more to help the country’s chemical and pharmaceutical producers improve their competitive position amid a strong Swiss franc, an industry group said on Monday.

Trade group scienceindustries, which represents Swiss-based chemical and pharmaceutical firms, said it welcomed the introduction last month of a currency peg of the franc to the euro,  and called for tax cuts and other relief.

The group wants the government to look at a broad range of additional measures to improve Switzerland’s international competitiveness in the chemical, pharmaceutical and other industries.

In particular, scienceindustries urged reductions in taxes and levies to offset negative impacts from the strong franc.

In addition, the government must ensure that chemical makers and other Swiss-based manufacturers will not face additional burdens from policies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Also, the government must work to further extend a “high-quality net” of free-trade relations, in particular with China and India, the group urged.

At the same time, the group said it rejects government subsidies for selected companies or industries.

US chemicals major Huntsman said last week it may cut up to 500 jobs in its Switzerland-based textile chemical operations. In addition, Huntsman may cut some jobs at its advanced material facilities in Basel and Monthey, it said.

Earlier, Swiss specialty chemical firm Clariant cut its full-year 2011 earnings forecast, because of the strong currency and a weaker global economy, and fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals firm Lonza announced a temporary increase in weekly hours for workers at its production hub in Visp to counter the site’s declining profitability.

Major chemical and pharmaceutical producers in Switzerland include Novartis, Roche, Clariant, Huntsman, EMS-Chemie, Lonza, Sika and Syngenta.

For more on Huntsman, Clariant, Lonza and other producers visit ICIS company intelligence
Read Paul Hodges’ Chemicals and the Economy Blog

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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