Federal companies should only be allowed to print in Switzerland

The Confederation, SBB & Co. also like to print abroad. If Parliament has its way, that should change.


The domestic printing industry is struggling to keep its machines busy and preserve jobs. Parliament has now decided that the companies should receive more backing from the federal government. These, writes the Switzerland at the weekendThey like to print abroad, and often do so. The SBB magazine Via is printed in Germany, as are the Swisscom telephone directories and the post office stamps. All Swisslos tickets are printed in the USA (!).

At the behest of Lucerne SVP National Councillor Felix Müri, these companies are now to be obliged to procure their printed products only in Switzerland. Parliament has approved his motion.

However, this might not be quite so simple. Swiss Post, for example, states that it prints stamps abroad because this is not possible in Switzerland in the desired quality. The printing industry responds that the requirements profile for the products must be defined in such a way that production is also possible in Switzerland. And: It is being clarified whether stamps and telephone directories could not also be printed in-house.

SBB has handed over the decision on where Via will be printed to a communications agency. The contract will run for another three years. It is uncertain whether Swiss printers will be selected after that, because the contract has to be put out to international tender: The contract has to be put out to international tender.

The Viscom industry association has a somewhat strained relationship with Swiss Post. The federal company is offering more and more complete solutions in which it not only takes care of transport but also printing - for example, serial letters. Swiss Post grants customers discounts of up to 50 percent. "This is forcing our companies out of the market," says Viscom Director Thomas Gsponer to the Switzerland at the weekend. Swiss Post puts the printing services out to tender and awards them to the company with the most favourable offer - this would further fuel the already very tough price competition.

Gsponer and Müri, together with Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer, now want to examine how the federal administration can be obliged to award printing contracts in Switzerland. This will only work if the Confederation's procurement policy is based on economic criteria and not purely financial ones.

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