The Council of States Wants More Room for Strength Producers

Published: Monday, Sep 11th 2023, 16:40

Updated At: Friday, Oct 13th 2023, 14:12

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The Swiss Ständerat has passed a motion by Hansjörg Knecht of the Aargauer SVP to make changes to customs duties for the import of soft wheat. The aim of the motion is to protect the domestic production of starch. The motion was passed with 41 votes in favour and 2 abstentions. The motion now goes to the Nationalrat. The motion calls for a minimum of 75% of imported soft wheat to be used for starch production, up from 55%. This change was prompted by a complaint from smaller mills who argued that they were being unfairly competed against by bread flour imported at a reduced rate. Knecht argues that the new conditions make it impossible to economically produce starch in Switzerland. The Federal Council opposes the motion, arguing that it violates the constitutional principle of equal treatment of competitors by the state, and is incompatible with the free trade agreement between Switzerland and the EU. Knecht countered that these issues could be solved in the legislative process, and that the motion is necessary to create a legal basis for the decades-long practice of the authorities. He also argued that this practice has never caused any international problems. Finance Minister Karin Keller-Sutter refused to commit to reverting to the previous practice.nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn


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