May 6 – 7, 2005
SwissCham held its seventieth annual meeting on May 6 and 7, 2005 in Lugano, Switzerland. The event brought together 25 member chambers from Switzerland and abroad, as well as representatives of seco, EDA and local Ticinese economic and municipal structures (70 participants altogether). The meeting slogan "molto vivace" or "very lively" set the tone for an energetic debate of issues regarding the chambers, their cooperation with other state instruments and ways that they can optimize their services in the interest of promoting Swiss business internationally.
The proceedings on May 6 opened with a welcome statement from Jürg Schweri, SwissCham President. 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. Jürg Schweri, who moderated the entire program, began with a presentation on the current status of Swiss export and directions for the future.
Mr. Schweri observed that progress in the area of export promotion had been made including a more open culture of dialogue, service agreements with Osec, inclusion of chamber representatives in Osec training programs, improved cooperation between SwissCham and LocationSwitzerland, the legal institutionalization of bilateral chambers as export partners and a new training program for SwissCham launched. At the same time he noted that there was room for additional improvement. In this respect the government "must realize that its goals can be more effectively achieved through the deployment of private sector instruments."
Ambassador Eric Martin, EDA, discussed
how EDA views the collaboration with Swiss chambers
of commerce abroad. He stated that good cooperation
between EDA representatives abroad and chambers is teneted
on "each understanding and accepting its role in
the export promotion landscape, avoiding competition,
engaging in a regular exchange of information, and integrating
the chambers in Osec's training program."
In laying out seco's strategy for
foreign economic policy and country promotion Ambassador
Eric Scheidegger noted that SwissCham's role in his
view is to function as a partner for the Osec business
hubs abroad. He also discussed strengthening SwissCham's
collaboration with Location: Switzerland, a project
currently in the pipeline.
An important focus of the event was current and upcoming
SwissCham projects. Two of these are driven by the ethos
of collaboration between economic promotion instruments.
The Events Coordination Systemn (ECS), presented by
Dorit Sallis, is an information platform that consolidates
all events focusing on Swiss trade and investment conducted
by Osec, SOFI, SIPPO and erg. It is an excellent vehicle
for the chambers to not only inform the public about
the events they are organizing, but also to cooperate
more systematically with the afore-mentioned instruments
on joint events. One such event that is in its fifth
year is the Forum der Schweizer Aussenwirtschaft 2005,
presented by Susan Horvath, where SwissCham is a network
partner. This will provide a venue for bilateral chambers
to advertise their services as well as to network with
The general assembly that took place on May 7, 2005,
entailed a review of SwissCham's activities in 2004.
Five new chambers were voted in as SwissCham members
- Asociacion Economica Hispano-Suica, Chamber of Commerce
Switzerland-Romania, the Italian Chamber of Commerce
for Switzerland, the Swiss-Canadian Association and
the Switzerland-Israel Chamber of Commerce, bringing
the total number of members to 47.
assembly elected two new board members, Martin Naville,
Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce and Ralf Bopp, Germany-Switzerland
Chamber of Commerce. Ralf Bopp replaces Martin Theurer,
who is retiring as Managing Director of the Germany-Switzerland
Chamber of Commerce. Jürg Schweri thanked Martin
Theurer for the valuable and dedicated service he gave
to the association throughout his tenure. The members
were also informed about two new Vice Presidents, Susan
Horvath and Beat Kälin, recently elected by the
As always, participants had ample opportunity to network
with old and new colleagues, this time in the sunny,
Mediterranean environment of Lugano. The festive dinner
held at Restaurant Perla di Lago with its breathtaking
view of the lake on Friday evening, and the boat trip
and dinner on Saturday evening offered an informal context
for members to discuss new ideas, exchange thoughts,
share experiences, and simply enjoy being with good
May 2006 will
bring with it the chance for the chambers to do so once
again, this time in the historical splendor of Budapest
where the next SwissCham annual meeting will be held.
By Dorit Sallis
Schweri, SwissCham, opens the Annual Meeting.
||The audience. Forefront:
Franz Probst (left) and Sushil Premchand, Swiss-Indian
Chamber of Commerce. Second row: Hans Graf, The
Swiss-Baltic Chamber of Commerce (left) and Jean-Luc
Peyrot, Swiss Chamber of Commerce in France.
|Ambassador Eric Scheidegger,
||Ambassador Eric Martin,
|Corinne Schirmer, Chamber
of Commerce Switzerland-Peru.
||Left to right: Arnoldo
Coduri, Economics and Finance Department of Canton
Tessin, Fabrizio Rindi, Swiss Chamber of Commerce
in Italy, Giorgio Pagani and Guido Casparis, Premec.
|Fabrizio Rindi, Swiss
Chamber of Commerce in Italy.
||Sushil Premchand, Swiss-Indian
Chamber of Commerce.
| Left to right: Gülin Arican, Swiss Chamber of Commerce in Turkey, Barbara Möckli-Schneider, Swiss-South East Asia Chamber of Commerce, Ursula Bardorf, Swisscam Brasil.
||Susan Horvath, Swiss-Chinese
Chamber of Commerce makes a presentation on the
Forum der Schweizer Aussenwirtschaft 2005.
|The audience listens attentively.
||Jean-Luc Peyrot, Swiss
Chamber of Commerce in France, discusses the International
Chamber of Commerce (ICC).
|Dorit Sallis, SwissCham,
makes a presentation on the Events Coordination
||Walter Diggelman, Swiss-American
Chamber of Commerce (left) chats with Ernesto Moeri,
|Me Maja Respini-Wetterwald
(left) and Karl Schlumpf, Chamber of Commerce Switzerland-Central
and Western Africa.
||Alex Becher, Chamber of
Commerce Switzerland-, Austria and Liechtenstein
(left) and Robert Oehler, SwissCham Southern Africa.
|Left to right: Vivianne
Küng, Bruno Lehmann, Swiss Chamber of Commerce
and Industry in Portugal, Bettina Rutschi, seco
and Jane Achermann, SOFI.
(left) talks to Diana Würtenberg, Swiss-Baltic
Chamber of Commerce.
|Jürg Schweri chats
with Mrs. Etter.
||Left to right: Franz Probst,
Swiss-Indian Chamber of Commerce, Christin Silberschmidt
and Martin Herb, Swiss-Japanese Chamber of Commerce.