Martin Naville – CEO, Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce, Switzerland
Martin Naville, CEO of the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce, discusses Swiss exports to the US, global competitiveness and innovation rankings, and why the Swiss-US relationship will only continue to grow stronger in the coming years.
In 2015, the US was the most important destination for Swiss direct investment abroad, amounting for 239 billion Swiss Francs (242.6 billion USD) – over 18 percent of all direct investment abroad. Equally, Switzerland is an important destination for American direct investors. How would you characterize the trade relationship between the two countries?
The importance of the US, as a key trading partner for Switzerland, remains underestimated. Over the last five years, the US has, by some distance, been our fastest growing trading partner out of our top 10 export partners. Indeed, in this period, Swiss exports to the USA have increased by 37 percent. Likewise, over the same period of time, Swiss imports from America have increased by 48 percent. Such an increase in trade has not been driven by issues such as currency fluctuations, but by an increasingly strong and diversified relationship. Swiss pharmaceutical exports account for approximately 47 percent of our trade with America, followed by machinery and watches. Switzerland is uniquely global with four times more global Fortune 500 companies per million inhabitants than any other country. We have two of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world (Novartis and Roche), the second largest food company (Nestlé), the second largest heavy equipment manufacturer (ABB), the largest cement company (LafargeHolcim), the largest reinsurance company (SwissRe), one of the largest insurance companies (Zurich Insurance) and two of the largest banks in the world (UBS and Credit Suisse).