International Business Portfolio: Switzerland
Doing Business with a Foreign Country
By: Christina Weng, Andrew Shon, and Ian Jeung
Table of Contents
A History of Canada and Switzerland’s Trade Relationships3
A Snapshot of Switzerland5
Brand Names in Switzerland8
Competitive and Absolute Advantage of Switzerland10
Working in Switzerland17
This portfolio will be providing an extensively researched international trade manual for Switzerland. Throughout this manual, it summarizes key findings that the team has gathered when looking into the trade relationships between Canada and Switzerland. It will also be covering the opportunities and risks associated with doing business in Switzerland. The team has tailored it to your needs and hopes that you find it to be insightful and a demonstration for why a relationship with Switzerland will be the best decision that you will make. A History of Canada and Switzerland’s Trade Relations
Canada and Switzerland have had a long history together and they both enjoy excellent bilateral relations. This is because of the many common interests and values they both share which include federalism, plurilingualism, and membership in La Francophonie, the United Nations, the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and the Forum of Federations. They are also party to a number of bilateral treaties and agreements including: Sharing of Forfeited or Confiscated Assets Agreement (2005); Trade and Economic Co-Operation Arrangement (1997); Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement (1998 and updated in 2011); Transfer of Dangerous Nuclear Materials Agreement (1995); Social Security Convention (1995); Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Treaty (1995). In 2009, a Free Trade Agreement with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), of which Switzerland is one of four members, came into force. It conferred a distinct competitive advantage to Canadian businesses and provides a strategic platform for Canadians to expand commercial ties throughout Europe. The two-way merchandise goods trade with the EFTA countries was valued at $11.6 billion in 2011.1 Switzerland was Canada’s 17th largest merchandise trading partner with two-way trade totalling $4.3 billion in 2011.1
Due to the relationship between Switzerland and Canada, they both offer many services to each other. This is referred to as the “Commercial Services” which is an integral part of the Embassy in Ottawa and the Consulates General of Switzerland in Montreal. The purpose of these services was for Canadian companies to provide a wide range of advice and assistance to Swiss companies who are exporting to Canada or are thinking about doing so. Canadian companies who seek sources of supply of Swiss goods and services are also offered similar services. These services to Canadian companies include: locating Swiss products, manufacturers, and strategic partners in Switzerland; providing information on Swiss companies, products, and services; information on trade shows in Switzerland; and information on investments or setting up a company in Switzerland. The services to Swiss companies include: identifying potential Canadian agents, distributors and manufacturer representatives; providing up-to-date information on the Canadian market; information on trade shows in Canada; and supporting special events that promote Swiss products and Services.2 These services have strengthened the business ties between these two strong powers and have opened many doors for Canadian and Swiss companies alike.
A Snapshot of Switzerland
Size relative to Canada: In area, Canada is 9,984,670 sq km while Switzerland is 41,277 sq km. According to the CIA world factbook, Switzerland is slightly less than...