Switzerland: the ideal business location in Europe
Switzerland is the intersection point of different cultures, and the communication and transport centre joining the north and south of Europe. This makes it an ideal starting point for business in countries of the European Union. The service sector of Switzerland generates some 70 percent of the gross domestic product, 28 percent are contributed by the industry sector. The Swiss economy is strongly geared towards exports, with a ratio of about 65 percent going to Europe. Apart from agricultural and food industry products, trade has complete freedom.
The country is also distinctive through its social quietude and political and economic stability. The efficient federal state structure gives the cantons a considerable degree of political decision-making freedom and administrative autonomy. This means that the major official bodies are very accessible and that decision and policymaking are simplified.
Language diversity opens markets
Linguistically, Switzerland is unique in Europe, with German, French, Italian and Rhaeto-Romanic used as domestic languages. English is also a common business language. Switzerland offers its foreign guests who decide to live there for business reasons an outstanding quality of life and a very safe environment. In its 2010 Quality of Living survey Mercer put Zurich on second and Geneva on third position in Europe, just behind Vienna. The Swiss economy is one of the most liberal and competitive in the world, offering the best conditions to enter new markets. Just a few weeks ago Switzerland was rated for the second year in a row number one in the ranking of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in terms of competitive capacity. Its position as the country with the world’s greatest competitive capacity is partly attributable to the fact that it showed few weaknesses throughout the global financial and economic crisis.
For companies wishing to settle in Switzerland, the country offers attractive location factors in its German, French and Italian regions. The economic centre is at the heart of successful business for many companies.
Switzerland is also a leader in research and education and is one of the world’s most active researching countries. Service quality is high and intellectual property is protected by a network of international contracts. Switzerland is therefore a valuable feeding ground for creativity and innovation, as nowhere are new developments and inventions better protected. In the European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) 2009, which is a comparative analysis of innovation performance among the countries of the European Union, Switzerland ranked first and became, so to speak, European’s champion for innovation.
Infrastructure offers optimal framework conditions
As one of the largest financial centres in the world, Switzerland also offers excellent opportunities for financing investments. Since Switzerland has no raw materials to exploit, it has developed over the last two hundred years a number of well established industry clusters: networks of producers, suppliers and research organisations, and of providers along a supply chain which have a certain regional proximity to one another. Cleantech, life sciences, pharmacy, chemicals, medical technology and the luxury watch industry are just a few examples.
Support for overseas investment
In close cooperation with industry and the cantons, Switzerland fosters optimal conditions for a strong economic environment. For example, foreign trade promotion organisation Osec coordinates together with the cantons activity on behalf of the government to drive overseas investment and supports companies under the programme. It opens the door to Switzerland and its authorities. In close collaboration with partners from different regions and cantons and from the private sector, the programme assists companies as they plan their operations:
- Making contact with regional and cantonal economic development offices
- Looking for the ideal location in Switzerland
- Meeting legal and administrative requirements
- Working together with research centres and universities
- Entering into partnerships with Swiss companies in the same sector
- Procuring work and residence permits
- Defining the ideal corporate structure and learning about the Swiss tax system
Information in eight languages
Further information is available in German, English, French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese and Russian at: www.invest-in-switzerland.com