(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) The Ambassador of Switzerland in Kuwait, HE E. Thvoz recently hosted a business luncheon at the Swiss Residence to present on behalf of the Switzerland Global Enterprise and its Swiss Business Hub GCC well and less known facts and figures about Switzerland as a prime location for making economic investments. The presentations summarized the main factors for the benefit of those who attended the event focusing on 'Why Switzerland' as a preferred destination for investment and Switzerland as the Center of Excellence for Internationalization. The presentation on 'Why Switzerland' as a preferred destination for investment by Chris Watts, Regional Director, Kuwait and Raymund Furrer, SBH GCC spoke about 'Switzerland as the Center of Excellence for Internationalization'
Addressing the delegates who attended the event Watts said Switzerland is considered to be one of the most competitive and attractive destinations in the world, although 200 years back was one of the poorest countries of Europe since it lacked natural resources and direct access to oceans. He disclosed the Global Competitive Index report issued by the World Economic Forum for 2012-2013 Switzerland topped the overall rankings while Singapore remained in second position with Finland, in third position, overtaking Sweden which is in 4th. The main reasons for Switzerland's success, he said, are the four Ts: Talent - an excellent educational system due to attractive living and working conditions, well-educated and motivated people from all over the world; Technology - with hundreds of biotech, high tech and pharmaceutical companies, the Swiss industry goes far beyond the production of sophisticated watches; Tolerance - with four national languages (German, French, Italian and Romansch) and with a foreign born population of over 20 percent tolerance impregnates Switzerland and Taxation - structuring and tax solutions appropriate to the needs of worldwide operating companies. In terms of education, research and development, he called Switzerland an innovation hub because three percent of Switzerland's GDP flows into research and development; university research and development at the highest level; dual education system, highly qualified career entrants on the labor market and highest density of multinational enterprise per citizen.
Taking into account European countries outside the EU, Switzerland confirms its position as the overall innovation leader among EU27 countries (EU average is 0.544 on composite indicator 0 to 1). In Switzerland innovation and creativity enjoy the best possible protection with well developed protection of intellectual property; comprehensive patent, trade mark and design protection, as well as exemplary copyright laws; higher degree of protection for new developments and inventions and top IP registration system and high innovation output. Switzerland also boasts of highest number of protected patents, trademarks and designs. In comparison to the rest of Europe, far more companies have launched innovations in the market in Switzerland, he said.
In the heart of the European Continent, Switzerland, a member of Schengen countries, is unique and independent, has signed a set of bilateral agreements with the EU and Free Trade Agreements with 28 countries including China (2013) and expected to sign with the GCC in (2014). In 2012 Quality of Living worldwide city rankings - Mercer survey, the cities of Zurich, Geneva and Bern occupied second, eighth and 10th places respectively. Switzerland has a flexible fiscal policy and fair taxation due to mild fiscal climate, moderate tax burden (thanks to debt brake) federalist system, reliable double taxation agreements, easy and reliable tax system, efficient cooperation with tax authorities and no 'exit taxes'. The labor cost in Switzerland is lower than expected and is believed to be 5-10 percent lower than in Germany.
Speaking of real estate, Watts said, commercial properties can be purchased without special permits (except land for construction). However, non-commercial properties need a permit when purchased by the buyer who lives outside Switzerland. He summed up saying Switzerland has 10 advantages over other European Union nations: strategic location, high productivity labor force, excellent education system, low taxation, sophisticated infrastructure, strong financial system, stable political system, innovation, high protection IPR and quality of life.
Furrer said the Switzerland Global Enterprise, established in 1927 and based in Zurich is a private organization employing 170 people - 100 in Switzerland and 70 overseas and has offices in Lausanne and Lugano. He added the company works all over the world to support entrepreneurs and promote Switzerland as a business location to foster exports, imports and investments and help clients to develop new potential for their international businesses and reinforce Switzerland as an economic hub. He went on to say the company boasts of a global network (business hubs in target countries) of experienced advisers and experts and is a partner for "our clients, the cantons and the Swiss government."
Furrer also gave an insight and overview of the export promotion - products and services. He added, the company has more than 600 experts in the fields of strategy, marketing, sales, law, logistics, personnel, etc in over 45 countries. One hundred and fifty experts, he said, carry the quality label 'Certified Expert by S-GE'. The highlight of 2014 includes, he said, the Free Trade Agreement EFTA-GCC covering industrial products, services, public procurement and e.a. and a road show to address business communities.
He summed up saying the Switzerland Global Enterprise provides potential foreign investors information about the particular strengths and operating conditions of Switzerland as a business location. This is in addition to its foreign companies which include assessing the potential of their projects before they are presented to cantons and S-GE assists the cantons with the relocation of foreign companies, providing market trend analyses and coordinates the activities of all bodies involved in the promotion of Switzerland as a business location.