Foreword from Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Switzerland & Liechtenstein, Jane Owen
I am delighted to welcome you to this guide on doing business in Switzerland. The Institute of Export & International Trade is working with the British Government to help companies find new business opportunities globally and we look forward to helping you navigate the Swiss market successfully.
Iconic British names have had a long affinity with Switzerland, starting with the desire of British alpinists to climb Swiss peaks, to Sherlock Holme’s famous tussle with Professor Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls which popularised Swiss mountain holidays. Today the famous names here include GlaxoSmithKline, Lush, EasyJet, Land Rover and a host of smaller players.
Switzerland is one of the UK’s top business partners, with bilateral trade reaching £35 billion in 2016. It is our 6th largest export market and tenth largest trading partner, triggering very large investments in both services and manufacturing.
The Swiss & the British have developed particularly strong links in financial & business services, pharmaceutical products, manufactured goods, IT & retail. Located at the heart of Europe, Switzerland projects steady economic growth, and offers excellent opportunities for companies with high quality products looking for long term relationships. The Global Innovation Index puts Switzerland at the top of the league table, and so if you have a high-tech product or service, Switzerland is a great country to explore for collaboration opportunities.
I hope that my teams in Berne and Geneva can join the IOE&IT in supporting you to develop your business in Switzerland, a country where the old adage is certainly true: “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”. This is a demanding, complex market, with four national languages, and subtly different business cultures. It’s useful to know how the local cantonal system works and how to access decision makers and marketing. Please get in touch and ask how we can help.
Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Switzerland & Liechtenstein
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