Session recaps

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Both Councils

21.019 Value Added Tax Act. Partial revision

The partial revision of the Value Added Tax (VAT) Act was subject to the procedure for the settlement of differences during this summer session. The partial revision foresees new exceptions and special regulations.

The partial revision of the VAT Act was approved in the final vote.

SwissHoldings supports the partial revision of the VAT Act.

National Council

22.077 Double taxation. Agreement with Tajikistan

The Protocol amending the DTA with Tajikistan contains a new abuse clause, which focuses on the main purpose of an arrangement or transaction and thus ensures that the DTA is not abused. In addition, the protocol contains an administrative assistance clause in accordance with international standards on the exchange of information upon request. Furthermore, the DTA amendment implements the minimum standards from the BEPS project in matters of double taxation agreements (spontaneous exchange of information).

After the Council of States unanimously adopted the bill in the spring session of 2023, the National Council also followed suit and approved the deal with 135 votes in favour, 41 against and 7 abstentions.

In the final vote the Protocol amending the DTA with Tajikistan was approved.

SwissHoldings welcomes the approval of both chambers.

23.3013 Po. APK-NR. Supplementary report on the foreign economic strategy

The postulate calls for the Federal Council to draw up a report on the impact of the US Inflation Reduction Act and the European Green Deal Industrial Plan with a focus on Switzerland as a supplement to Switzerland’s existing foreign economic strategy. This is to take into account recent geopolitical developments in the US and the EU (both important trading partners of Switzerland) in the strategy.

The National Council approved the postulate with 132 votes in favour and 51 against. The matter thus goes to the Federal Council for fulfilment.

SwissHoldings welcomes the acceptance of the postulate.

22.058 Customs Act. Total revision

The new Customs Act is intended to simplify procedures and tariffs and to implement digitalisation in custom procedures. Other elements are the organisation of customs and its future powers.

The National Council decided by 100 votes to 78 with 9 abstentions to discuss the totally revised Customs Act against the will of its competent committee.

SwissHoldings welcomes the fact that the National Council has agreed to proceed with the proposal despite certain problems.

Council of States

19.4313 Mo. National Councillor (Müller Leo). Show sustainable financial flows

According to the motion,  sustainable investments should be promoted through a better database. One possible approach would be for disclosure obligations to be improved in order to take account of the demand for sustainable investments. Since the motion was submitted, changes have already been adopted at federal level. For example, from 01.01.2024, companies, banks and insurance companies with at least 500 employees and a balance sheet total of at least 20 million Swiss francs or a turnover of more than 40 million Swiss francs must account for climate issues in a publicly accessible report.

The motion was adopted in the National Council in the 2020 spring session. In this summer session, the Council of States followed the National Council and adopted the motion without a countermotion. With the adoption by the Council of States, the motion will be referred to the Federal Council.

SwissHoldings generally welcomes the intent of this motion, but clearly calls for an internationally coordinated solution and not a special Swiss solution.

23.3448 Mo. Chiesa. Systemically important companies. Ensuring decisions in the interest of Switzerland
23.3495 Mo. Noser. Regulation on variable remuneration

The motion by National Councillor Chiesa demands that the majority of the boards of directors of companies defined as systemically important should hold Swiss citizenship and be resident in Switzerland. The Federal Council proposes that the motion be rejected.

The motion by Councillor of States Noser calls for stricter rules when determining variable remuneration. The Federal Council proposes that the motion be rejected.

Both motions were referred to the competent committee for preliminary examination by means of a motion of order (together with several motions submitted in the wake of the Crédit Suisse case).

From SwissHoldings’ point of view, both motions are problematic and the association accordingly welcomes the fact that the Council of States has not adopted the motions (at least so far).

23.3224 Mo. Français. Institutional reform of the Competition Commission

According to the text of the motion, the Competition Commission (WEKO) is publicly criticised. Institutional weaknesses must be improved. This includes in particular the point that a functional separation of the roles of the Competition Commission as prosecutor and as judge must be ensured. The Federal Council proposes that the motion be rejected.

The motion will be referred to the competent committee for preliminary examination by means of a motion of order.

From SwissHoldings’ point of view, it is indispensable that an institutional reform is carried out and it is accordingly welcomed that the motion will now be dealt with in the competent committee.

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