of Swiss Foreign Trade Chambers - SwissCham held its
annual meeting on May 21-22, 2004 in Estonia. The event,
attended by 21 of the 45 chambers of commerce that are
members of SwissCham, was expertly hosted this year
by Diana and Jürg Würtenberg of the Swiss
Baltic Chamber of Commerce (SBCC) in the charming port
city of Tallinn. Participants included chamber representatives
from Peru and Argentina, to Morocco and Hungary, organisations
that facilitate investment and trade between Switzerland
and partner countries, representatives from EDA and
seco's export promotion division.
opened with a welcome statement from H.E. Edgar Savisaar,
Mayor of Tallinn, who is also head of the Centrist Party
in Estonia. The first day was devoted to the role of
the Swiss foreign chambers of commerce in promoting
Swiss exports, and forms of collaboration between the
chambers and the Osec hubs. Dr. Rolf Jeker, who moderated
the entire program, began with a presentation on the
current status of Swiss export and directions for the
future. Ambassador Bernhard Marfurt, EDA, discussed
how EDA views the collaboration with Swiss chambers
of commerce abroad.
A number of presentations
were devoted to collaboration between the chambers and
Osec: Daniel Küng, Osec CEO, focused on what Osec's
expectations of a Swiss business hub are. Jürg
Schweri, Managing Director of the Swiss-Austria and
Lichtenstein and Charles Kaufmann Sampaio, Chamber of
Commerce Switzerland- Portugal, discussed forms of cooperation
between hub and chamber, and practical experiences working
SIPPO and Dr. George Malcotsis, Swiss Organisation for
Facilitating Investments (SOFI) who work routinely with
a global network of intermediaries to facilitate investment
and trade between Switzerland and target countries described
their organisations and the collaboration with chambers.
day with local flavor were presentations on support
for Swiss SMEs in the Baltic States presented by Jürg
Würtenberg, President of the SBCC Tallinn, Bruno
Kaspar, Honorary Consul in Lithuania and Robert Becsy,
Managing Director of Dätwyler AG in Tallinn. Roger
Unterberger, President, Swiss-Central Europe Chamber
of Commerce (SEC) gave an overview of the Baltic States
and ably moderated this section. H.E. Pierre Chrzanovski,
Switzerland's Ambassador to Finland and Estonia, and
H.E. Mart Laanemäe, Director of the Chancellory,
Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, respectively,
concluded the program with presentations on Switzerland's
relations with the Baltics, and particularly Estonia's
relations with the EU and Switzerland.
The general assembly
entailed a review of SwissCham's activities in 2003
and visions for 2004 including acquisition of new member
chambers, building up the SwissCham secretariat, which
has been under SOFI's management since January 2004,
and adopting further measures to support chambers' export
networked intensively during the meetings. They also
participated in a full cultural program organized by
the SBCC that took them to historical sites in Tallinn,
a dinner on the "Admiral" steamboat with honored
guest H.E. Lennart Meri, former President of Estonia,
and an afternoon trip to the Lahemaa National Park where
they had tea at the Palmse Manor and strolled through
the forested grounds.
new ideas for the year, buoyed by renewed contacts with
fellow chambers, and inspired by the beauty and hospitality
encountered in Estonia, participants bid warm farewells
until the next gathering, which will take place in Switzerland
in November 2004. ds
|The SwissCham board
(left to right): Dr. Rolf Jeker,
Martin Theurer, Daniel Küng, Jürg Schweri
and Jean-Luc Peyrot.
|Dr. Rolf Jeker, former
|(Left to right): Diana
Würtenberg, Mayor Edgar Savisaar and Daniel
right to left): Norma Allemann, Corinne Schirmer,
Alessandra Kauffmann Modenese, Dr. Fabrizio Rindi.
(Second row, right to left):Gerard Salzmann, Jean-Luc
Peyrot, Christoph Etter, Martin Herb, Renée
Jaccoud, Walter Diggelmann.
|Participants (right to
left): Roger Ünterberger, Hugo Salvisberg,
Verena Voutilainen, Charles Kaufmann Sampaio, Martin
||(Left to right): Daniel
Küng and Ambassador Bernhard Marfurt.
|Max Steiner makes a point.
Csilla Halasz is seated next to him.
||H.E. Mart Laanemäe
answers a question. Ambassador Pierre Chrzanovski
is seated next to him.
|Waiting to board the "Admiral"
steamboat (left to right): Peter Hutzli, Christoph
Etter, Robert Oehler, Sushil Premchand.
||Dinner on the "Admiral"
(left to right):
H.E. Lennart Meri, Dr. Rolf Jeker, Daniel Küng.
|Markus Stern makes a presentation.
||Jean-Luc Peyrot expresses
an opinion. Christoph Etter is seated next to him.
|Group photo at the Altja
||Martin Theurer makes a