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Reforms to Open Sheltered Sectors to Competition in Switzerland

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  • Andrés Fuentes

Abstract

Measures to make the regulation of product markets more conducive to competition play a prominent role in the governments “growth package” of measures to stimulate economic growth which are in the process of being implemented. This paper discusses these measures and suggests further improvements. Notwithstanding significant reforms in recent years, competition law and its enforcement are still weaker than in other OECD countries. Scope for making regulation of product markets more competition-friendly is large in the network industries. While sector-specific regulators have been introduced, their independence needs to be strengthened. The reform of the electricity supply law provides the main building block opening the industry to competition, but vertical separation requirements of the electricity grid from electricity generation and trading activities need to be strengthened. In telecommunications, restrictions in access of competitors to the local loop limit the scope for lowering prices and improving quality of service in broadband connections. Measures still need to be taken to prevent discrimination against market entrants in the railway passenger services market and much scope exists to widen competition in postal services. Progress in lowering the degree of protection in the proposed legislation on agricultural policy 2007-11 is modest. Trade barriers can also be lowered for manufactured goods through the adoption of the Cassis de Dijon principle. Réformes pour ouvrir à la concurrence les secteurs abrités en Suisse Les mesures visant à rendre la réglementation des marchés de produits plus propice à la concurrence occupent une place de premier plan dans le « programme de croissance » destiné à stimuler l'expansion économique, dont la mise en oeuvre a commencé. Le présent chapitre examine les mesures figurant dans ce programme et propose de nouvelles améliorations. Malgré les importantes réformes opérées ces dernières années, la Suisse est encore à la traîne des autres pays de l'OCDE du point de vue du droit de la concurrence et de son application. Beaucoup reste à faire dans les industries de réseau pour rendre la réglementation des marchés de produits plus favorable à la concurrence. Des autorités de régulation sectorielles ont été mises en place mais elles ont besoin d'une plus grande indépendance. La réforme de la législation relative à la fourniture d'électricité jette les bases de l'ouverture de ce secteur à la concurrence, mais séparation verticale plus stricte est nécessaire entre le réseau de transport et les activités de production et de commercialisation. Dans le secteur des télécommunications, les restrictions d'accès des concurrents à la boucle locale limitent les possibilités de baisse des prix et d'amélioration de la qualité du service dans le haut débit. Il y a encore des mesures à prendre afin d'éviter la discrimination à l'encontre des entrants sur le marché des services de transport ferroviaire de passagers et beaucoup reste à faire pour élargir la concurrence dans les services postaux. La législation sur la politique agricole proposée pour la période 2007-11 ne marque qu'un léger progrès en matière de réduction de la protection. L'adoption du principe « Cassis de Dijon » pourrait aussi contribuer à abaisser les obstacles au commerce des produits manufacturés.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/226785745104
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 667.

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Date of creation: 17 Feb 2009
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Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:667-en

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Keywords: competition law; privatisation; productivity and growth; agriculture; regulatory policies; competition; network industries; industrie de réseau; privatisation; Suisse; politique de régulation; droit de la concurrence; productivité globale et croissance; agriculture; concurrence;

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