Switzerland Seeking for Increased Co-operation with Russia
A round table meeting on development of commercial relations between Russia and Switzerland took place in Geneva with the support of the Union of Chambers of Commerce Switzerland–Russia and CIS countries. The event was initiated by Guy Mettan, deputy of the Grand Council of Geneva (Parliament), President of the Union of Chambers of Commerce Switzerland–Russia and CIS Countries.
The main guest and speaker was Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, Head of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
The speakers unanimously gave a positive assessment to the course of development of bilateral dialogue between Russia and Switzerland, which, despite complicated international political environment, retains sustainable growth.
Guy Mettan emphasized a qualitative change in Russia’s business climate towards creating more favourable and transparent conditions for doing business in the country. According to him, it is backed up by promotion of Russia in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report and the World Bank and International Finance Corporation’s ‘Doing Business’ ranking of countries in 2018 — ranked 43 and 31 respectively.
State Secretary for Economic Affairs Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch noted that the fact that not a single Swiss company ceased its activities in Russia after 2014 demonstrates that Swiss business is interested in and seeks for promoting multi-field co-operation with Russia. Thus, around 200 Swiss companies perform business activities in Russia today, including large concerns such as АВВ, Lafarge Holcim, Novartis, Nestle that have invested over USD 10 billion in building new production sites in Russia.
Besides, “based on the existing indicators, a rise in volume of mutual trade in 2019 is to be expected,” emphasized Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch. The Head of SECO also believes Russia and Switzerland should consistently develop and diversify areas for bilateral cooperation.
Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch intends to continue the dialogue with Russian partners on the grounds of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum which will take place 6–8 June 2019 and which she has accepted to attend.