The Economic and Commercial Affairs Division of the Swiss Embassy, headed by Economic Counsellor Siamak Rouhani, aims to promote and intensify the bilateral economic relations between Switzerland and India.
Over the years, economic relations between Switzerland and India have become more and more comprehensive; rapidly evolving into a full-fledged partnership between two countries which are unequal in terms of size and economic structure but share a common commitment to actively take part in the globalizing world. Today, India is a priority country in the framework of Switzerland's Foreign Economic Strategy.
Swiss-Indian bilateral trade grew robustly during the period 2003-2008, nearly trebling from CHF 1.24 billion to 3.5 billion in five years. However, due to global economic meltdown, the growth could not be sustained in 2009, and the two-way trade actually declined. As per the latest Swiss trade data, the declining trend has been reversed in the year 2010, with Swiss export to India going up by 18.8 percent, reaching CHF 2.56 billion. Similarly, the Swiss import from India has also gone up by 26.2 percent, reaching CHF 1.01 billion.
The major items that Switzerland exported to India during 2010 were machinery; pharmaceuticals; pearls, jewellery and precious metals; chemical products; precision instruments; and watches.On the other hand, the main items imported by Switzerland from India during 2010 were chemical products; textiles; pearls, jewellery and precious metal items; agricultural products; fertilizers, dyes, pigments etc.; and non-electric machinery.
With regard to bilateral trade in services, India remains an important emerging market for Swiss tourism. During 2010, Indian tourists spent 392,852 overnights in Switzerland (324,280 in 2009), a healthy growth of 21 percent. Another area of bilateral trade in services, software and IT-enabled services continues to perform well in spite of the weak global economy. During the FY 2010, the export of software and IT-enabled services from India to Switzerland is estimated to have gone up to USD 450 million from USD 350-375 million recorded in previous fiscal year.
There are about 170 joint ventures / wholly-owned subsidiaries of Swiss companies operating in India. In terms of industry-wise distribution of Swiss collaborations in India, the traditional sectors of Swiss excellence, e.g. engineering and industrial equipment, services (tourism, financial, logistics etc.), chemicals and pharmaceuticals, precision instruments, continue to maintain top positions.
Switzerland remains amongst the top foreign investors in India. As per the cumulative FDI inflows data available for April 2000-December 2010, Switzerland is the 11th largest foreign investor, investing approximately USD 1.8 billion in diverse fields. As a large part of foreign direct investments in India, including investment from Switzerland, is routed through Mauritius, the actual Swiss direct investment in India is much higher. The total Swiss direct investment inflows in India are estimated to be above USD 5 billion during April 2000-December 2010.
As the Indian economy continues to grow better than many other emerging economies and the future prospects are bright, the Swiss companies operating in India remain confident about its excellent market potential and most of them have planned to expand in the near-to-medium term. For new entrants, they need to explore business opportunities in various sectors, e.g. engineering, chemical products, consumer goods, food processing, financial services, biotechnology, energy including renewable energy, healthcare, and information technology related services.
Switzerland is attracting increasingly Indian investors to locate and expand their overseas and European businesses, taking benefit of one of the most liberal and competitive economies in the world, its location in the centre of Europe and having full access to the European market including Schengen, political and economical stability, world class R&D institutions, dedicated professional labour force, flexible labour laws, a reliable and highly developed financial centre, excellent infrastructure, high standard of living or competitive tax rates.
Not surprisingly, most recent examples from India are not only expansions through acquisitions but also establishments of greenfield operations in Switzerland.
The Embassy together with the Swiss Business Hub India is actively engaged in promoting Switzerland as a trade and investment destination.
Swiss Business Hub India
Investing in Switzerland as a business location