Swiss economy – Overview

A row of Swiss army knives laid out on a workbench.
Just like the Swiss Army knife, Swiss products and services are high quality and reliable. © Presence Switzerland

Switzerland is one of the most competitive economies in the world, in large part thanks to its flourishing service sector. By international standards public debt in Switzerland is low, and the country has a competitive tax system. Small-and medium-sized enterprises are the mainstay of the export-oriented Swiss economy.

Switzerland's comparatively low level of public debt, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, has been achieved by imposing a debt brake, i.e. a cap on public spending. The Swiss tax system reflects the country's federal structure. Competitive corporate tax rates set by the cantons make Switzerland an attractive location for companies. Switzerland has several other distinct advantages including a well-trained workforce, considerable innovative capacity, political stability, a high standard of living and its location at the centre of Europe. For all these reasons, a number of multinationals are based in Switzerland.

However, SMEs are the lifeblood of the Swiss economy. Many of these companies are export-driven, which is why Switzerland habitually runs a trade surplus.

Swiss economy – Facts and figures

Switzerland has one of the most competitive economies in the world, mainly thanks to its highly developed services sector.

Public Finances

Public finances have been in surplus for some years now, while government debt remains relatively low.


Taxes in Switzerland are relatively low and rates vary from canton to canton and from commune to commune.


SMEs, the majority family-run firms, account for 99% of businesses operating in Switzerland. But Switzerland is also home to a large number of multinationals.


The Swiss economy is driven by exports and imports, with Germany as Switzerland's number one trading partner.

Research and Development

Switzerland is one of the top ten R&D investors in the world, spending over 3% of total GDP.