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Map of Switzerland


Location: Central Europe, east of France, north of Italy

Geographic coordinates: 47 00 N, 8 00 E

Map references: Europe

total: 41,290 sq km
land: 39,770 sq km
water: 1,520 sq km

Area—comparative: slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey

Land boundaries:
total: 1,852 km
border countries: Austria 164 km, France 573 km, Italy 740 km, Liechtenstein 41 km, Germany 334 km

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims: none (landlocked)

Climate: temperate, but varies with altitude; cold, cloudy, rainy/snowy winters; cool to warm, cloudy, humid summers with occasional showers

Terrain: mostly mountains (Alps in south, Jura in northwest) with a central plateau of rolling hills, plains, and large lakes

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Lake Maggiore 195 m
highest point: Dufourspitze 4,634 m

Natural resources: hydropower potential, timber, salt

Land use:
arable land: 10%
permanent crops: 2%
permanent pastures: 28%
forests and woodland: 32%
other: 28% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 250 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: avalanches, landslides, flash floods

Environment—current issues: 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:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Law of the Sea

Geography—note: landlocked; crossroads of northern and southern Europe; along with southeastern France and northern Italy, contains the highest elevations in Europe


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Population: 7,260,357 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 17% (male 642,365; female 613,931)
15-64 years: 68% (male 2,506,653; female 2,415,647)
65 years and over: 15% (male 436,804; female 644,957) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.22% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 10.81 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 9.03 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 0.42 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.68 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 4.92 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 78.88 years
male: 75.71 years
female: 82.22 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.46 children born/woman (1998 est.)

noun: Swiss (singular and plural)
adjective: Swiss

Ethnic groups: total population—German 65%, French 18%, Italian 10%, Romansch 1%, other 6%
note: Swiss nationals—German 74%, French 20%, Italian 4%, Romansch 1%, other 1%

Religions: Roman Catholic 46.1%, Protestant 40%, other 5%, no religion 8.9% (1990)

Languages: German 63.7%, French 19.2%, Italian 7.6%, Romansch 0.6%, other 8.9%
note: figures for Swiss nationals only: German 74%, French 20%, Italian 4%, Romansch 1%, other 1%

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99% (1980 est.)
male: NA%
female: NA%


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Country name:
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)

Data code: SZ

Government type: federal republic

National capital: Bern

Administrative divisions: 26 cantons (cantons, singular—canton in French; cantoni, singular - cantone in Italian; kantone, singular—kanton in German); Aargau, Ausser-Rhoden, Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Bern, Fribourg, Geneve, Glarus, Graubunden, Inner-Rhoden, Jura, Luzern, Neuchatel, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Sankt Gallen, Schaffhausen, Schwyz, Solothurn, Thurgau, Ticino, Uri, Valais, Vaud, Zug, Zurich

Independence: 1 August 1291

National holiday: Anniversary of the Founding of the Swiss Confederation, 1 August (1291)

Constitution: 29 May 1874

Legal system: 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: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Flavio COTTI (since 1 January 1998); Vice President Ruth DREIFUSS (since 1 January 1998); note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Flavio COTTI (since 1 January 1998); Vice President Ruth DREIFUSS (since 1 January 1998); note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Federal Council or German—Bundesrat, French—Conseil Federal, Italian - Consiglio Federale elected by the Federal Assembly 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 10 December 1997 (next to be held NA December 1998)
election results: Flavio COTTI elected president; percent of Federal Assembly vote—Flavio COTTI 90%; Ruth DREIFUSS elected vice president; percent of legislative vote - Ruth DREIFUSS 69%

Legislative branch: bicameral Federal Assembly or German—Bundesversammlung, French—Assemblee Federale, Italian—Assemblea Federale consists of the Council of States or German—Standerat, French—Conseil des Etats, Italian—Consiglio degli Stati (46 seats; members are elected two from each canton and one from each half canton to serve four-year terms) and the National Council or German - Nationalrat, French—Conseil National, Italian—Consiglio Nazionale (200 seats; members are elected by popular vote on a basis of proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
elections: Council of States—last held throughout 1997 (each canton determines when the next election will be held); National Council—last held 20 October 1995 (next to be held probably 24 October 1999)
election results: Council of States—percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party - FDP 17, CVP 16, SVP 5, SPS 5, LPS 2, LdU 1; National Council—percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—FDP 45, SPS 54, CVP 34, SVP 29, Greens 9, LPS 7, FPS 7, LdU 3, EVP 2, SD 3, PdAdS 3, Ticino League 1, EDU 1, FRAP 1, CSP 1

Judicial branch: Federal Supreme Court, judges elected for six-year terms by the Federal Assembly

Political parties and leaders: Radical Free Democratic Party (Freisinnig-Demokratische Partei der Schweiz or FDP, Parti Radical-Democratique Suisse or PRD, Partitio Liberal-Radicale Svizzero or PLR) [Franz STEINEGGER, 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) [Ursula KOCH, president]; 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) [Adalbert DURRER, president]; Swiss People's Party (Schweizerische Volkspartei or SVP, Union Democratique du Centre or UDC, Unione Democratica de Centro or UDC, Uniun Democratica da Center or UDC) [Ueli MAURER, president]; 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) [Ruedi BAUMANN, president]; Freedom Party or FPS [Roland BORER]; Liberal Party (Liberale Partei der Schweiz or LPS, Parti Liberal Suisse or PLS, Partito Liberale Svizzero or PLS) [Francois Jeanneset, president]; Alliance of Independents' Party (Landesring der Unabhaengigen or LdU, Alliance des Independants or AdI) [Daniel ANDRES, president]; Ticino League (Lega dei Ticinesi) [Giuliano BIGNASCA, president]; and other minor parties including Swiss Democratic Party (Schweizer Demokraten or SD, Democrates Suisses or DS, Democratici Svizzeri or DS), Workers' Party (Parti Suisse du Travail or PST, Partei der Arbeit der Schweiz or PdAdS, Partito Svizzero del Lavoro or PSdL), Evangelical People's Party (Evangelische Volkspartei der Schweiz or EVP, Parti Evangelique Suisse or PEV, Partito Evangelico Svizzero or PEV), and the Union of Federal Democrats (Eidgenossisch-Demokratische Union or EDU, Union Democratique Federale or UDF, Unione Democratica Federale or UDF); note—see elections

International organization participation: ACCT, AfDB, AG (observer), AsDB, Australia Group, BIS, CCC, CE, CERN, EBRD, ECE, EFTA, ESA, FAO, G- 8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAIA (observer), MTCR, NAM (guest), NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OSCE, PCA, PFP, UN (observer), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMIBH, UNMOP, UNMOT, UNOMIG, UNPREDEP, UNTSO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Alfred DEFAGO (since April 1997)
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

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Madeleine May KUNIN (since 8 August 1996)
embassy: Jubilaeumstrasse 93, 3005 Bern
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [41] (31) 357 70 11
FAX: [41] (31) 357 73 44

Flag description: 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—overview: Switzerland, a fundamentally prosperous and stable modern economy with a per capita GDP roughly 10% above that of the big West European economies, is experiencing continued economic difficulties. GDP growth was a minus 0.2% in 1996 and a weak plus 0.4% in 1997. Weak domestic consumer demand is partly at fault; stagnating real disposable income combines with a reluctance to reduce saving rates in the face of an uncertain employment outlook. Switzerland's leading sectors, including financial services, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and special-purpose machines, therefore are more reliant on export markets. Exports should lead an upturn in Swiss economic performance in 1998-99, provided the franc does not appreciate substantially as a result of Swiss monetary policy or instability in the run up to EMU.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$172.4 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 0.4% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$23,800 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 2.8%
industry: 31.1%
services: 66.1% (1995)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: -0.1% (1997)

Labor force:
total: 3.8 million (850,000 foreign workers, mostly Italian)
by occupation: services 67%, manufacturing and construction 29%, agriculture and forestry 4% (1995)

Unemployment rate: 5% (1997 est.)

revenues: $25.8 billion
expenditures: $30.8 billion, including capital expenditures of $2.3 billion (1997)

Industries: machinery, chemicals, watches, textiles, precision instruments

Industrial production growth rate: 0% (1996)

Electricity—capacity: 14.27 million kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 55 billion kWh (1996)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 6,850 kWh (1996 est.)

Agriculture—products: grains, fruits, vegetables; meat, eggs

total value: $99.2 billion (f.o.b., 1997)
commodities: machinery 29%, chemicals 26%, metals 8%, agricultural products 4% (1996)
partners: EU countries 61%, US 9%, Japan 4% (1996)

total value: $86.6 billion (c.i.f., 1997)
commodities: machinery 22%, chemicals 20%, metals 8%, agricultural products 9% (1996)
partners: EU 79%, US 7%, Japan 3% (1996)

Debt—external: $NA

Economic aid:
donor: ODA, $1.034 billion (1995)

Currency: 1 Swiss franc, franken, or franco (SFR) = 100 centimes, rappen, or centesimi

Exchange rates: Swiss francs, franken, or franchi (SFR) per US$1—1.4757 (January 1998), 1.4513 (1997), 1.2360 (1996), 1.1825 (1995), 1.3677 (1994), 1.4776 (1993)

Fiscal year: calendar year


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Telephones: 5.24 million (including 663 million car-mobile phones) (1996 est.)

Telephone system: excellent domestic and international services
domestic: extensive cable and microwave radio relay networks
international: satellite earth stations—2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 7, FM 50 (state-owned 10, private 40, shortwave 1 (1997)

Radios: 2.8 million (1996)

Television broadcast stations: 15 of which state-owned 5, private 10 (repeaters 1,322) (1997)

Televisions: 2.647 million licenses (1996)


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total: 5,249 km (1,564 km double track)
standard gauge: 3,741 km 1.435-m gauge (3,119 km electrified; 808 km nongovernment owned)
narrow gauge: 1,438 km 1.000-m gauge (1,088 km electrified; 1,364 km nongovernment owned)
other gauge: 70 km 0.750-m or 0.800-m gauge (1996)

total: 71,117 km (including 1,594 km of expressways)
paved: NA km
unpaved: NA km (1996 est.)

Waterways: 65 km; Rhine (Basel to Rheinfelden, Schaffhausen to Bodensee); 12 navigable lakes

Pipelines: crude oil 314 km; natural gas 1,506 km

Ports and harbors: Basel

Merchant marine:
total: 22 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 424,261 GRT/733,551 DWT
ships by type: bulk 13, cargo 1, chemical tanker 5, oil tanker 2, roll-on/roll-off cargo 1 (1997 est.)

Airports: 67 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 42
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 12
914 to 1,523 m: 6
under 914 m: 15 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 25
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 24 (1997 est.)




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