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  Switzerland  
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  Introduction
  Geography
  People
  Government
  Economy
  Communications
  Transportation
  Military
  Transnational Issues

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Map of Switzerland

DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Switzerland
Background:
Definition Field Listing
Switzerland's independence and neutrality have long been honored by the major European powers, and Switzerland was not involved in either of the two World Wars. The political and economic integration of Europe over the past half century, as well as Switzerland's role in many UN and international organizations, has strengthened Switzerland's ties with its neighbors. However, the country did not officially become a UN member until 2002. Switzerland remains active in many UN and international organizations, but retains a strong commitment to neutrality.

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   Geography    Switzerland
Location:
Definition Field Listing
Central Europe, east of France, north of Italy
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
47 00 N, 8 00 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Europe
Area:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 41,290 sq km
land: 39,770 sq km
water: 1,520 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 1,852 km
border countries: Austria 164 km, France 573 km, Italy 740 km, Liechtenstein 41 km, Germany 334 km
Coastline:
Definition Field Listing
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
none (landlocked)
Climate:
Definition Field Listing
temperate, but varies with altitude; cold, cloudy, rainy/snowy winters; cool to warm, cloudy, humid summers with occasional showers
Terrain:
Definition Field Listing
mostly mountains (Alps in south, Jura in northwest) with a central plateau of rolling hills, plains, and large lakes
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Lake Maggiore 195 m
highest point: Dufourspitze 4,634 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
hydropower potential, timber, salt
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 10.42%
permanent crops: 0.61%
other: 88.97% (2001)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
250 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
avalanches, landslides, flash floods
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
air pollution from vehicle emissions and open-air burning; acid rain; water pollution from increased use of agricultural fertilizers; loss of biodiversity
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
landlocked; crossroads of northern and southern Europe; along with southeastern France, northern Italy, and southwestern Austria, has the highest elevations in the Alps

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   People    Switzerland
Population:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
7,450,867 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 16.8% (male 647,362; female 602,333)
15-64 years: 67.9% (male 2,555,089; female 2,503,331)
65 years and over: 15.3% (male 466,615; female 676,137) (2004 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 39.5 years
male: 38.5 years
female: 40.5 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.54% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
9.83 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8.44 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
4.05 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 4.43 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 4.94 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.89 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 80.31 years
male: 77.51 years
female: 83.27 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.42 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0.5% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
19,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
less than 100 (2001 est.)
Nationality:
Definition Field Listing
noun: Swiss (singular and plural)
adjective: Swiss
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
German 65%, French 18%, Italian 10%, Romansch 1%, other 6%
Religions:
Definition Field Listing
Roman Catholic 46.1%, Protestant 40%, other 5%, none 8.9% (1990)
Languages:
Definition Field Listing
German (official) 63.7%, French (official) 19.2%, Italian (official) 7.6%, Romansch (official) 0.6%, other 8.9%
Literacy:
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99% (1980 est.)
male:
female:

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   Government    Switzerland
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Swiss Confederation
conventional short form: Switzerland
local long form: Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (German), Confederation Suisse (French), Confederazione Svizzera (Italian)
local short form: Schweiz (German), Suisse (French), Svizzera (Italian)
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
federal republic
Capital:
Definition Field Listing
Bern
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
26 cantons (cantons, singular - canton in French; cantoni, singular - cantone in Italian; kantone, singular - kanton in German); Aargau, Appenzell Ausser-Rhoden, Appenzell Inner-Rhoden, Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Bern, Fribourg, Geneve, Glarus, Graubunden, Jura, Luzern, Neuchatel, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Sankt Gallen, Schaffhausen, Schwyz, Solothurn, Thurgau, Ticino, Uri, Valais, Vaud, Zug, Zurich
Independence:
Definition Field Listing
1 August 1291 (Founding of the Swiss Confederation)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Founding of the Swiss Confederation, 1 August (1291)
Constitution:
Definition Field Listing
revision of Constitution of 1874 approved by the Federal Parliament 18 December 1998; adopted by referendum 18 April 1999; officially entered into force 1 January 2000
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
civil law system influenced by customary law; judicial review of legislative acts, except with respect to federal decrees of general obligatory character; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Suffrage:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: President Joseph DEISS (since 1 January 2004); Vice President Samuel SCHMID (since 1 January 2004); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Joseph DEISS (since 1 January 2004); Vice President Samuel SCHMID (since 1 January 2004); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Federal Council or Bundesrat (in German), Conseil Federal (in French), Consiglio Federale (in Italian) elected by the Federal Assembly usually from among its own members for a four-year term
elections: president and vice president elected by the Federal Assembly from among the members of the Federal Council for one-year terms that run concurrently; election last held NA December 2003 (next to be held NA December 2004)
election results: Joseph DEISS elected president; percent of Federal Assembly vote - 70.7%; Samuel SCHMID elected vice president; percent of legislative vote - 58.1%
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
bicameral Federal Assembly or Bundesversammlung (in German), Assemblee Federale (in French), Assemblea Federale (in Italian) consists of the Council of States or Standerat (in German), Conseil des Etats (in French), Consiglio degli Stati (in Italian) (46 seats - members serve four-year terms) and the National Council or Nationalrat (in German), Conseil National (in French), Consiglio Nazionale (in Italian) (200 seats - members are elected by popular vote on the basis of proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
elections: Council of States - last held in most cantons 19 October 2003 (each canton determines when the next election will be held); National Council - last held 19 October 2003 (next to be held NA October 2007)
election results: Council of States - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CVP 15, FDP 14, SVP 8, SPS 6, other 3; National Council - percent of vote by party - SVP 26.6%, SPS 23.3%, FDP 17.3%, CVP 14.4%, Greens 7.4%, other small parties all under 5%; seats by party - SVP 55, SPS 54, FDP 36, CVP 28, Green Party 13, other small parties 14
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Federal Supreme Court (judges elected for six-year terms by the Federal Assembly)
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Green Party (Grune Partei der Schweiz or Grune, Parti Ecologiste Suisse or Les Verts, Partito Ecologista Svizzero or I Verdi, Partida Ecologica Svizra or La Verda) [Ruth GENNER]; Christian Democratic People's Party (Christichdemokratische Volkspartei der Schweiz or CVP, Parti Democrate-Chretien Suisse or PDC, Partito Democratico-Cristiano Popolare Svizzero or PDC, Partida Cristiandemocratica dalla Svizra or PCD) [Philipp STAEHELIN, president]; Radical Free Democratic Party (Freisinnig-Demokratische Partei der Schweiz or FDP, Parti Radical-Democratique Suisse or PRD, Partitio Liberal-Radicale Svizzero or PLR) [Christiane LANGENBERGER, president]; Social Democratic Party (Sozialdemokratische Partei der Schweiz or SPS, Parti Socialist Suisse or PSS, Partito Socialista Svizzero or PSS, Partida Socialdemocratica de la Svizra or PSS) [Christiane BRUNNER, president]; Swiss People's Party (Schweizerische Volkspartei or SVP, Union Democratique du Centre or UDC, Unione Democratica de Centro or UDC, Uniun Democratica dal Center or UDC) [Ueli MAURER, president]; and other minor parties
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
NA
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
ACCT, AfDB, AsDB, Australia Group, BIS, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EFTA, ESA, FAO, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAIA (observer), MONUC, NAM (guest), NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMEE, UNMIK, UNOMIG, UNTSO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Christian BLICKENSTORFER
chancery: 2900 Cathedral Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 745-7900
FAX: [1] (202) 387-2564
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco
consulate(s): Boston
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Pamela WILLEFORD
embassy: Jubilaeumsstrasse 93, 3005 Bern
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [41] (031) 357 70 11
FAX: [41] (031) 357 73 44
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
red square with a bold, equilateral white cross in the center that does not extend to the edges of the flag

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   Economy    Switzerland
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Switzerland is a prosperous and stable modern market economy with low unemployment, a highly skilled labor force, and a per capita GDP larger than that of the big Western European economies. The Swiss in recent years have brought their economic practices largely into conformity with the EU's to enhance their international competitiveness. Switzerland remains a safe haven for investors, because it has maintained a degree of bank secrecy and has kept up the franc's long-term external value. Reflecting the anemic economic conditions of Europe, GDP growth dropped in 2001 to about 0.8%, to 0.2% in 2002, and to -0.3% in 2003.
GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $239.3 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
-0.5% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $32,700 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 1.5%
industry: 34%
services: 64.5% (2003 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
20.1% of GDP (2003)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
NA
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 25.2% (1992)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
33.1 (1992)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0.6% (2003 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.72 million (2003)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture 4.6%, industry 26.3%, services 69.1% (1998)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.7% (2003 est.)
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $123.2 billion
expenditures: $128 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (2003 est.)
Public debt:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
57.1% of GDP (2003)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
grains, fruits, vegetables; meat, eggs
Industries:
Definition Field Listing
machinery, chemicals, watches, textiles, precision instruments
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0.4% (2003)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
68.68 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
53.43 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
34.54 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
24.1 billion kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
290,400 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
10,420 bbl/day (2001)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
289,500 bbl/day (2001)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.093 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.093 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$36 billion (2003)
Exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$110 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery, chemicals, metals, watches, agricultural products
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Germany 19.7%, US 10.1%, Italy 9.4%, France 8.9%, UK 5.9%, Austria 4.4% (2003 est.)
Imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$102.2 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery, chemicals, vehicles, metals; agricultural products, textiles
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Germany 27.5%, France 11.8%, Italy 10.6%, US 8.1%, Austria 4.6%, UK 4.4%, Russia 4.2%, Netherlands 4.2% (2003 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange & gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$69.58 billion (2003)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2000)
Economic aid - donor:
Definition Field Listing
ODA, $1.1 billion (1995)
Currency:
Definition Field Listing
Swiss franc (CHF)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
CHF
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Swiss francs per US dollar - 1.3467 (2003), 1.5586 (2002), 1.6876 (2001), 1.6888 (2000), 1.5022 (1999)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year

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   Communications    Switzerland
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5.419 million (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.172 million (2003)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: excellent domestic and international services
domestic: extensive cable and microwave radio relay networks
international: country code - 41; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 4, FM 113 (plus many low power stations), shortwave 2 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
115 (plus 1,919 repeaters) (1995)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
.ch
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
667,275 (2004)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.556 million (2002)

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   Transportation    Switzerland
Railways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 4,533 km
standard gauge: 3,483 km 1.435-m gauge (3,472 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 1,004 km 1.000-m gauge (974 km electrified); 46 km 0.800-m gauge (46 km electrified) (2003)
Highways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 71,011 km
paved: 71,011 km (including 1,638 of expressways)
unpaved: 0 km (2000)
Waterways:
Definition Field Listing
65 km
note: The Rhine carries heavy traffic on the Basel-Rheinfelden and Schaffhausen-Bodensee stretches; there are also 12 navigable lakes
Pipelines:
Definition Field Listing
gas 1,831 km; oil 212 km; refined products 7 km (2003)
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Basel
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing
total: 30 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 604,843 GRT/1,050,914 DWT
by type: bulk 15, cargo 6, chemical tanker 3, container 3, petroleum tanker 2, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: Belgium 1, Netherlands 1, United Kingdom 6, United States 1
registered in other countries: 182 (2003 est.)
Airports:
Definition Field Listing
65 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 42
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 10
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m: 16 (2003 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 23
under 914 m: 23 (2003 est.)
Heliports:
Definition Field Listing
2 (2003 est.)

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   Military    Switzerland
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Land Forces, Air Force
Military manpower - military age:
Definition Field Listing
20 years of age (2004 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 1,890,091 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 1,606,391 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males: 45,654 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$2.548 billion (FY01)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1% (FY01)

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   Transnational Issues    Switzerland
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
none
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
a major international financial center vulnerable to the layering and integration stages of money laundering; despite significant legislation and reporting requirements, secrecy rules persist and nonresidents are permitted to conduct business through offshore entities and various intermediaries; transit country for and consumer of South American cocaine and Southwest Asian heroin

Large portions of this information is from the US government open source publication "The World Factbook", other content copyright © Stratus-Pikpuk, Inc. You may use this information without permission for educational or other non-profit purposes if you refer to us as the source, contact us if you want to use this commercially.


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