Switzerland is extremely protective of its agricultural industry. High tariffs and extensive domestic subsidization encourage domestic production, which currently produces about 60% of the food consumed in the country. Half of the production came from livestock farming, primarily in the form of dairy products, while the other half is generated by crop farming. Products like cheese and cereals are highly exported.
Switzerland is home to many pharmaceutical companies, including very large groups, such as Novartis and Hoffmann-La Roche. In 2013, 41 life science companies had their international headquarters (and 29 other regional locations) in Switzerland. The chemical-pharmaceutical industry is a good example of competitiveness. Like many other industries, the chemical-pharmaceutical industry spends large sums of money on research and development: these companies collaborate with the country’s universities and with the federal institutes of technology in Zurich and Lausanne.
As of 2017, Switzerland is home to 133 enterprises manufacturing motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers. Despite a decline in the number of businesses within the industry, the automotive manufacturing industry’s production value reached a peak of 1.62 billion euros in 2016, with figures for 2017 approximately at the level of 2014.
The food industry is not only important for Switzerland in terms of food; it is of great importance for the Swiss economy as a whole. During the period 2001-2014, exports increased at a rate of almost 12% per year. In 2013, the food industry showed stronger export growth than other sectors. The food industry in Switzerland is strongly divided between internationally competitive sub-sectors that are the engines of strong industrial growth, such as coffee, chocolate or beverages, and other sub-sectors, which operate predominantly at national level, such as the production of meat and milk.
Although Switzerland has seen a significant increase in renewable energies such as environmental heat, biomass, wind and solar energy since 2005, their main energy sources are oil-dependent, natural gas, nuclear and hydroelectric power. In recent years, many projects have been under way in Switzerland, such as the world’s first high-altitude floating solar power plant currently operating in the Swiss Alps.
Tourists are attracted by the beautiful landscape of Switzerland and the activities available, which take advantage of the climate and alpine landscapes, especially for skiing and mountaineering. Swiss tourism is concentrated in the big cities (Zurich, Bern, Lucerne, Geneva) and in the most popular alpine resorts. Moritz, Davos and other ski resorts in the Alps, such as Zermatt, Arosa and Grindelwald are popular destinations for mountain lovers.
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