SwissCham is one of the pillars of the Swiss community in Australia and brings together the representatives of Swiss businesses. The Swiss-Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry encourages networking, exchange of information and championing the establishment of Swiss values and excellence through business. SwissCham is the focal point for Swiss businesses in Australia and promotes bilateral trade.
Why Swiss business is of value to Australia
For decades, Switzerland has been a top 10 foreign investor
Over 300 Swiss companies and brands are represented in Australia
80,000 staff members in Australia are directly employed by Swiss companies
Switzerland is a major contributor to Australia's economy and society as an investor and job creator
Switzerland Country Brief
Switzerland enjoys one of the world’s highest standards of living which is credited to having a highly-skilled labour force, technological expertise in manufacturing and a strong financial services sector. Switzerland’s stable, transparent and effective institutions, combined with high-quality infrastructure and low corporate tax rates, make Switzerland a strong global economy.
Switzerland has one of the highest standards of living which is linked to also having one of the highest per capita incomes in the world as well as having an open economy. Income from services like tourism and banking as well as exceptional labour skills and experience in technological manufacturing are all cohesively to acknowledge for Switzerland’s success. Switzerland has been ranked number 1 in the 2016-17 World Economic Forum Competitiveness Index for the 8th consecutive year. (source: Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade)
Despite the negative effects of the 2009 Global Financial Crisis (GFC), Switzerland has sustained throughout and has also retained its AAA credit rating.
Switzerland is extremely integrated with the EU bloc regardless of not being a member of the European Union (EU). 35 percent of all Swiss exports are absorbed by Eurozone neighbours (France, Germany, Austria and Italy). (source: Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade)
In December 2008, Switzerland became a member of the Schengen area.
More than 20 international organisations are headquartered in the city of Geneva. These organisations include, various UN agencies, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Bilateral Relations Australia-Switzerland
Australia and Switzerland foster a growing dynamic relationship based on common political and economic interests, which are supported by consistent high-level dialogue. A key component of contemporary ties is Switzerland’s substantial investment in Australia. Culturally, the two countries have been proven to be close and contributions from Swiss members have been very valuable to Australia.
A growing partnership in the areas of scientific research and development, education and two-way investment has been established over the years.
In order to strengthen bilateral ties, Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter visited Australia in 2013 to sign a memorandum of understanding and establishing a Strategic Dialogue between Australia and Switzerland. Switzerland and Australia agreed in 2015 to tackle tax evasion by increasing cooperation.
Since earliest European settlement of Australia Swiss people have played a major contributing role. This impact can be seen today in Australia’s diverse multicultural society.
In 2014 54,000 visitors and around 1,600 students of Swiss origin were welcomed to Australia.
Tens of thousands of Australians are traveling to Switzerland every year.
Indigenous art, performers and various visual arts are some of the ways Australia is represented in the artistic world in Switzerland.
In addition to cultural ties there are also economic ties between the two countries with a growing economic relationship particularly in the areas of scientific research and development, education and two-way development.
The total two-way trade between Switzerland and Australia was $5.9 billion in 2015-16. The main items of imports from Switzerland were medications and watches. However, other minor items such as pacemakers and orthopaedic appliances contribute strongly.
Australia exported predominantly gold, meat (other than beef), silver and platinum accounting for $1.0 billion.
Services exported by Australia totaled $0.9 billion and services imported fom Switzerland were $0.7 billion. Australia’s services exports were majorly made up of transport and personal travel. Whilst the Swiss services trended towards use of intellectual property and personal travel. (source: Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade)
Switzerland is Australia’s 10th largest source of foreign investment, which was worth $50.2 billion at the end of 2015. Glencore (metals & mining), Xstrata (mining), Novartis (pharmaceuticals), Roche (pharmaceuticals), Nestlé (food & beverage) and financial services companies Credit Suisse, UBS and Zurich are all significant Swiss businesses that have a base in Australia. (source: Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade)
At the end of 2015, Australian investment in Switzerland was $18.6 billion. Macquarie Group (financial services & banking), Sonic Healthcare and CSL Behring (pharmaceuticals) are all noted as top Australian companies in Switzerland.
The city of Zurich is the Swiss financial and commercial hub. Zurich houses the Australian Trade Commission (‘Austrade’) since 2015.