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Monetary Policy in a Global Context

Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce, Zurich, 8 October 2003, 08.10.2003

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The Swiss-American friendship is an essential ingredient to the long-term vitality of the Swiss economy. With Paul Volcker’s paradigmatic shift of monetary policy in the United States in 1979, a long period of global disinflation was initiated. The dramatic increase in international competition during the last twenty years has also affected price levels markedly. In Switzerland, important segments of the economy have remained sheltered from international competition through a web of regulatory hurdles. Deregulation in these sectors would not only raise economic growth – something that is urgently needed in the effort to alleviate the growing stress on our social programs – but also render monetary policy more effective and provide it with more flexibility. The economic and monetary policy outlook for the United States and Switzerland at this moment is centred around the hope for a sustainable recovery in the U.S. and worldwide with only a gradual adjustment of the big global and intergenerational imbalances.