Highlighting the strategic success positions of the Swiss agriculture and food sector in open markets

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The export-oriented Swiss economy is interested in open markets, which increases the pressure for further trade liberalisation. An increase in free trade will strengthen domestic competition and lead to lower, more volatile raw-material and product prices, particularly in the food sector. Conversely, it will result in new export opportunities.

In view of the overriding objective of global and national food security, the question arises as to which strategic success positions the Swiss agriculture and food sector can claim in open markets, and how the sector will be positioned in future. This is addressed by taking into account the cost environment and the requirement for income and working conditions in the agricultural sector to keep pace with those of other economic sectors, so that agricultural products can in future continue to be produced and processed in Switzerland. Within the context of ongoing market liberalisation and the change in competitiveness of the agriculture and food sector, however, there is also the question of the quantitative and qualitative impact of the already existing, and any new, agricultural policy measures.

Scientific Objectives and Research Questions

The research questions listed below focus on topics which, owing to the particularities of Switzerland on the international agricultural markets, cannot be resolved by analogous conclusions from other countries.

  1. What effects do market-support measures geared to a multifunctional agricultural sector have on prosperity? What changes will be brought about by market deregulation? How are forthcoming liberalisation measures (e.g. abolition of the ‘Chocolate Law’) designed for the benefit of the Swiss economy?
  2. What are the comparative strengths and weaknesses of Swiss foods on the international markets? How can the strengths be developed and the weaknesses offset?
  3. What contribution does digitisation make to the quality strategy and to competitiveness? What are the costs and benefits? How does digitisation influence the B2C relationship?
  4. How does price volatility impact the strategies of market players at both the international and national scale? How do market players influence price fluctuations on the national markets?
  5. With what methods and agroeconomic models can the need for scientifically supported policy decision-making bases be met?