Switzerland is heavily dependent upon imports, so maintaining reserves of certain goods is a very important precautionary measure in ensuring security of supply. If an unforeseen crisis means that the market is no longer able to satisfy demand for vital basic goods, having reserves to release as needed is a valuable instrument for the National Economic Supply NES.

The federal government and the private sector work together to maintain the system of compulsory stocks. The Confederation determines which goods and how much of them need to be stocked. However, the stocks are the property of private businesses rather than of the government, and are managed by them. On 1 February 2021 around 300 private companies held compulsory stocks.

The costs of maintaining compulsory stocks are included by companies in the sales prices and are thus borne by the consumer. In the food and feed sector, the costs of cereals, edible oils and fats as well as sugar are borne indirectly by the federal government.

Each person in Switzerland pays about CHF 13 a year on average towards NES in this way (as of 31st of December 2022).

Additional information

Last modification 19.07.2023

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