The Legal Affairs Committee of the National Council of Switzerland has approved a minimum rate of 60% “Swiss value” for goods made in Switzerland, something the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FHS) says will help safeguard jobs in the country.
The approval means that, with a view to the “Swissness” of Swiss watches, at least 60% of the cost price of a timepiece must be manufactured in Switzerland if its purports to be Swiss made. In a move that might give some brands leeway, research and development costs can now also be included within this 60%.
The FHS, whose members include more than 500 small, medium and large enterprises, said that it applauds this decision. In a statement on its site, the FHS said: “Rather than seeing more and more jobs relocated to China, Switzerland needs jobs in Switzerland”.
The decision was made on January 11. The Legal Affairs Committee of the National Council is now set to help the FHS to preserve its 53,000 jobs in Switzerland on a long-term basis, including 1,000 apprenticeship places.
The 60% rule is said to be opposed by firms that have 90% of their watch manufacturing jobs in Asia. The production of watches in China with a label of “Swiss-made” was described as abusive by the FHS, and something it hopes this decision will now challenge.
The FHS said in a statement: “A well protected Swiss brand also prevents foreign companies from buying Swiss watch firms, relocating production to foreign countries at low wages, and despite everything selling their products legally under the Swiss made label.
“[Our work] will not stop the work process from continuing in countries where wages are lower, nor the import of replacement parts from such countries. However the Swiss made label must no longer be misused.”