International trade in eastern Switzerland was affected to a greater extent by the pandemic than in other border areas

The closure of the borders during the confinement that accompanied the first pandemic wave was an unexpected and in many ways destabilizing event. 

What consequences has this measure had on the economic relations of Eastern Switzerland? 

A study presented on Monday by the Conference of Governments of the Region (and carried out by the University of St. Gallen, together with the University of Applied Sciences of Graubünden) concluded that international trade in this region has suffered more than in other border areas. of Switzerland.

"The Canton of St. Gallen suffered because there was a lack of specialized personnel, for example for the maintenance of machinery. Overall, however, I can say that we have managed this moment well and the economy and industry have recovered", says Beat Tinner, councilor of state.

The closure of the borders has reduced mobility. Shopping tourism, which has changed since then, was affected.

"It was frightening to see how online commerce grew during the pandemic. A trend that will continue into the future. Retail will have to adapt, across and across the border, to this additional challenge," explains Walter Schönholzer. a member of the Thurgovian government.

However, the 84 pages of the study contain not only analyses and suggestions, but also an appeal by the governments of eastern Switzerland for a border region with its own peculiarities which, according to the study's conclusions, should be considered more in the future.

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