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Switzerland Could Make EU Bid; Boost Competition

Switzerland's prowess in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and heavy industry could make the European Union (EU) an even more formidable global competitor in the relatively near future. After four years of tough negotiations, the Swiss have just inked a bilateral trade agreement with the 15-nation EU. If Swiss voters approve the pact -- and their approval is not certain -- the way will be open for Switzerland to make a formal membership bid to the EU. Switzerland is already the EU's largest trade partner after the U.S. And Swiss industrialists fear they could be left on Europe's business sidelines if they have to wait too long for EU membership.

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