The Council of States recommends a no to the fair price initiative, but has approved an indirect counter-proposal that goes very well with the initiators.
Only the ban on geo-blocking is still controversial.
The initiative “Stop the high-price island – for fair prices” has its sights on the Switzerland surcharge. Like the National Council and the Federal Council, the Council of States also rejects the initiative (30 to 12 votes). The indirect counterproposal passed by the small chamber with 30 to 13 votes includes tightening antitrust law.
With some provisions, Parliament goes further than the Federal Council. After the failure of the antitrust revision, the counterproposal was necessary, said Hannes Germann (SVP / SH) on behalf of the majority – he is also a member of the initiative committee. Companies would literally be ripped off with Swiss surcharges from foreign suppliers.
A defeated minority led by Ruedi Noser (FDP / ZH) would not have wanted to accept the counter-proposal. The initiative and counter-proposal are not the “miracle cure” that would ensure lower prices and keep wages high, said Noser. «I am absolutely convinced that the initiative is a sham. (…) The fair price initiative and the counter-proposal are by no means a miracle cure, but are primarily pure legal fodder. ”
Roberto Zanetti (SP / SO) worked hard to come up with the counter-proposal: “If exactly the same product costs X at the counter on the other side of the border and the general importer in Switzerland has to pay X plus 20 or 30 or 40 percent, then has that has nothing to do with the high-price island of Switzerland, but only with the rip-off of the Switzerland surcharge. ”
In addition to dominant companies, the counter-proposal also makes companies that are relatively powerful in the market increasingly responsible. This refers to companies on which others are de facto dependent for lack of alternatives. In the version of the councils, the relatively powerful companies not only include the supply side, but also the demand side.
But there are still differences between the councils. First of all, the Council of States does not agree with the prohibition of private geoblocking included in the bill for formal reasons.
Paul Rechsteiner (SP / SG) called the provision “improvised” and “an accident” and warned of “enormous collateral damage”. The exceptions, the regulation of which the National Council wants to “delegate” to the Federal Council, are weighty.
The Federal Council also rejects the geoblocking ban requested by the National Council – anchored in the law against unfair competition (UWG). The scope of such a ban goes much further than the initiative wanted, said Economy Minister Guy Parmelin.
Council of States against re-import clause
The Council of States also does not want the re-import clause that the National Council added to the counter-proposal. This is intended to prevent products that have been delivered abroad at low prices from being imported back into Switzerland at lower prices. Swiss companies could continue to enforce a Switzerland surcharge. In the eyes of the majority of the Council of States Commission, this clause is protectionist. She therefore applied to renounce it and got through.
This means that the counterproposal for rectification goes back to the National Council.
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