Despite growing prosperity, free trade is coming in for criticism in many countries. Some fear competition from abroad, while others believe globalization is enabling the circumvention of regulations and exploitation of less economically developed countries. There is currently talk of trade barriers designed to restrict the exchange of goods by means of administrative hurdles rather than tariffs. The idea of applying laws extraterritorially is also gaining currency in Switzerland. But this runs counter to the principle that international trade should be based on a common set of rules – rules that are especially beneficial for a small, export-oriented country such as Switzerland. Swiss companies already have comprehensive corporate social responsibility frameworks in place. Rather than posing a threat to the emerging economies where they do business, they generally have a positive impact on human rights and the environment in these countries.
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