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.
The trade flows between Switzerland and India have grown significantly since 2003. The two-way trade expanded from Swiss Francs 1.24 billion in 2003 to more than 4.0 billion in 2012, registering a growth of nearly 250 percent. The expansion has been steady, with both sides’ trade achieving double-digit growth in most of these years, except in 2009 and 2012. The growth could not be sustained in 2009, due to global economic meltdown, and the bilateral trade flows actually declined. In 2012, the appreciated Swiss Franc as well as economic slowdown in India had adversely impacted the growth of Swiss exports to India.
The major items that Switzerland exported to India during 2012 were machinery; pharmaceuticals; pearls, jewelry and precious metals; chemical products; precision instruments; and watches. On the other hand, the main items imported by Switzerland from India during 2012 were chemical products; textiles; pearls, jewelry and precious metal items; agricultural products; metals, machinery, and footwear.
With regard to bilateral trade in services, India remains an important emerging market for Swiss tourism. During 2012, Indian tourists spent 474,882 overnights in Switzerland (460,440 in 2011), a growth of 3 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 fiscal year 2012, the export of software and IT-enabled services from India to Switzerland is estimated to be more than USD 500 million.
There are more than 200 joint ventures / wholly-owned subsidiaries of Swiss companies operating in India. In terms of industry-wise distribution of Swiss investments in India, the traditional sectors of Swiss excellence, e.g. engineering and industrial equipment, services (tourism, financial, logistics etc.), precision instruments, chemicals and pharmaceuticals 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-March 2013, Switzerland is the 11th largest foreign investor, investing approximately USD 2.36 billion in diverse fields. As a large part of foreign direct investments in India, including investment from Switzerland, is routed through other countries, the actual Swiss direct investment in India is much higher. The actual Swiss direct investment inflows into India are estimated to be above USD 7 billion during April 2000-March 2013.
Swiss companies operating in India are at present cautiously optimistic due to the prevailing subdued economic conditions, but at the same time are also confident about its excellent market potential in the medium to long-term. Sectors such as engineering, chemical products, consumer goods, food processing, financial services, biotechnology, energy including renewable energy, healthcare, and information technology related services continue to offer a lot of business opportunities.
Switzerland is increasingly attracting 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 with full access to the European market including Schengen, political and economical stability, world class R&D institutions, dedicated professional labour force, flexible labour regulations, 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 partner.
Swiss Business Hub India
Investing in Switzerland as a business location