The Swiss watchmaking industry expects a continuing rise in exports next year but is concerned that the United States’ protectionist trade policy could have a negative impact on the sector.
Jean-Daniel Pasche, president of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, said the sector would record in 2018 the third consecutive year with growth, and the value of exports could exceed CHF21 billion ($21.2 billion).
That would be an increase of about 7% on the previous year but short of the record CHF22.2 billion in 2014.
Pasche said growth was likely continue on the Asian markets – Hong Kong and China – as well as in the United States. But sales in Europe are expected to stagnate in 2019.
Looking to other regions, Pasche said there was potential in both Brazil and India but noted that agreements on free trade between Switzerland and the two countries were still blocked.
He also voiced concern about uncertainty surrounding Brazil’s incoming president, Jair Bolsonaro, who is said to be an opponent of multilateralism.
In a similar vein, Pasche pointed out the ongoing trade tensions between the US and China.
The strong Swiss currency is also an important factor to take into account, he said.
swissinfo.ch with Keystone-ATS and AWP/ug