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Switzerland is a federal republic consisting of 26 highly independent regions (cantons) and three official languages German, French and Italian.This mode of government has served the country well. It is one of the most prosperous in the world, with GDP per capita in terms of purchasing power 70% higher than the EU average. Although not a member of the European Union, the Swiss Confederation has adopted various provisions of European Union law and pays into the European budget in order to participate in the Union’s single market. The country is a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), but has not ratified the Agreement on a European Economic Area with the EU. In 2020, Switzerland pulled out of negotiations with the EU on an Institutional Framework Agreement, which would have enhanced bilateral relations. This could complicate cooperation with the EU, in particular in new areas.

The majority of Swiss workers are employed in the service sector, mostly in business and finance and tourism. Chemical and pharmaceutical production and mechanical engineering/metals are the main branches of the industrial sector. Thanks to business-friendly legislation, low tax rates, and tax deductions for R&D, Switzerland has become a preferred destination for R&D activities. The importance of agriculture for the economy is in diminishing.