Switzerland’s transformation from a traveler’s paradise to one of the most industrialized countries in Europe is attributed to its stable economy and availability of highly skilled manpower. Today, the country boasts of a per capita gross domestic product (GDP) that is higher than that of other leading western European nations. This investor-friendly country is working towards increasing its competitiveness by adopting economic policies that will propel its economy further. Economists therefore foresee Switzerland posing stiff competition to the major European economies in the years ahead.
According to the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Switzerland is the 10th largest country investing in India. Over the years, India’s trade relations with Switzerland have grown manifold-indicating immense growth potential for both sides. India primarily exports coffee, tea, plastics, ready made garments, textiles, organic chemicals, precious stones, jewelery, leather products and dyestuffs to Switzerland. On the other hand, Switzerland exports items such as pharmaceutical products, essential oils and cosmetics, precision machinery, plastics and electrical machinery watches to India.
Analysts and government bodies in both countries feel that there are several areas of cooperation that can provide business opportunities for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in India and Switzerland. Some of the major sectors that can grow through mutual alliances include the automobile, biotechnology, information technology (IT), and information and communication technology (ICT) industries.
The Swiss auto industry, for example, is one of the leading industries in the world. It manufactures high precision parts and various kinds of equipment. These specialized devices are in great demand in India. Hence, Indian SMEs in the auto space can collaborate with their Swiss counterparts to offer these equipments in India.
Similarly, India’s high skilled workforce is best suited to render its services in the knowledge-driven industries in Switzerland. Both countries have realized the important role that the Indian IT industry can play in the field of research and development (R&D) in Switzerland. Thus, both countries can cooperate with each other to carry out joint research in diverse fields like biotechnology, nanotechnology and life sciences.
Another industry that can involve future collaborations and partnerships is the chemical industry. This industry is poised to emerge as a crucial component of Indo-Swiss bilateral trade. Some of the leading Swiss chemical companies that have entered the Indian market are Ciba, Clariant and Novartis. Indian SMEs are collaborating with these Swiss firms to tap the Swiss market.
While both countries have shown a keen interest to improve trade relations between them, the governments should take further initiatives to facilitate smoother flow of business. Swiss business hub (SBH) India, an Indo-Swiss trade body is taking steps to bridge the gap between the SMEs of the two countries. Exploring the various untapped areas of growth that can benefit the small and mid-sized players. The association sees a bright future ahead of Indo-Swiss bilateral trade that is likely to see an increased number of joint ventures, collaborations and exports in the years to come.
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