Business Association Chemistry Pharma Life Sciences
Matthias Leuenberger, President of scienceindustries

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Matthias Leuenberger, President of scienceindustries

Our industries between challenges and opportunities


The year 2024 holds both challenges and opportunities for the Swiss economy and our industries: from negotiations with the EU on free trade agreements and the protection of intellectual property to new technologies such as CRISRP/Cas, we need clear positions and the courage to set the right course for the future.

For our chemical, pharmaceutical and life sciences sectors, 2024 has got off to a positive start: The new vigour in the European dossier raises hopes that things are finally moving forward. Geopolitics has probably persuaded the EU to make certain concessions - Switzerland would now do well to capitalise on this momentum. Pragmatism and not ideology must once again take centre stage! Switzerland needs stable relations with its most important trading partner and full association with Horizon Europe, the world's largest research programme. 

In addition to the main EU market, access to other markets is the key to the success of our export industries. The focus is on concluding new agreements as well as modernising existing ones. Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs), such as the recently signed agreement with the USA in the area of Good Manufacturing Practice for medicinal products, also facilitate trade and thus strengthen Switzerland as a production location. Although the prospect of new free trade agreements with India and Mercosur is positive, it is essential that our core concerns in the areas of intellectual property protection, market access and rules of origin are taken into account.

Major opportunities: intellectual property, sustainability, technological freedom

The new year also offers a number of opportunities in other areas that need to be utilised. First and foremost is the power of innovation as the engine of the Swiss economy. The upcoming revision of the Patent Act offers the chance to establish an internationally attractive patent law system. The protection of intellectual property remains central to scienceindustries and its members. Switzerland must actively advocate its protection at the international level, including at the WTO - we are strongly committed to this!

Sustainability is a major challenge and opportunity. Accordingly, it has been an important part of scienceindustries' strategy for some time: Companies that contribute to environmental goals are not only ecologically successful, but also economically sustainable. If we are to achieve the net-zero target by 2050, we need the right framework conditions. The focus here is on new technologies and processes, which originate not least from the research laboratories of our member companies.

Challenge: smart and pragmatic regulation is needed

The right framework conditions include, above all, smart and pragmatic regulation! The parliament elected at the end of last year faces a particular challenge in this new legislative period to ensure that research and development activities are not relocated abroad. There is potential for improvement, particularly in business regulation and with regard to the future regulation of chemicals. scienceindustries is committed to efficient authorisation procedures and sustainable regulation that ensures the protection and well-being of humans, animals and the environment based on knowledge and without any total bans.

Our member companies in the chemical, pharmaceutical and life sciences industries are well positioned and ready to seize the opportunities. As an association, we must ensure that the best possible framework conditions prevail in Switzerland. scienceindustries will continue to be actively involved in the upcoming discussions this year!


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