Following the rejection of the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA) by Swiss voters on 6 December 1992, the Federal Council approved a programme of measures for free-market renewal, setting the following objectives: preventing the foreclosure of markets, removing impediments to competition, and strengthening Switzerland’s position as a business location.
A cornerstone of the Federal Council’s programme was the introduction of modern and effective legislation on competition. This was implemented in substance by revising the Cartel Act (CartA 95) and creating the Internal Market Act (IMA). These two enactments, which came into force at the same time on 1 July 1996, complement each other. Whereas the Cartel Act targets restraints of competition in the private sector, the Internal Market Act is directed against restrictions that are found in the public law applied by the cantons and communes.
A good seven years after it came into force, the first revision of the IMA began. The impetus for this came from an evaluation report from the National Council Control Committee dated 17 June 2000, which found there was a gap between the aims envisaged and the actual impact of the Internal Market Act. The Federal Council included the reform of the legislation as one of 17 measures in its growth package of 18 February 2004. The revised Internal Market Act was approved by Parliament on 16 December 2005 and came into force on 1 July 2006.