Swiss exports to United States reach record level

Switzerland’s economic relations saw a major boost in the past year as both exports and investments increased significantly.

This content was published on September 2, 1999 - 18:00

Switzerland’s economic relations saw a major boost in the past year as both exports and investments increased significantly.

According to new figures released by the Swiss Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, exports increased by 7.5 percent to total a record SFr12.3 billion ($8.2 billion) in 1998.

This makes the United States the second most important export market behind Germany.

The main industrial sectors profiting from the increase were Switzerland’s machine, chemical and watchmaking industries, which also have the strongest Swiss industrial presence in the U.S.

Economic analysts expect that the strong performance of the U.S. economy and the strength of the dollar will continue to favour Swiss overseas exports for the remainder of this year.

Imports from the U.S. fell by 8 percent in 1998.

Swiss direct investments in the American market went up by a significant 38 percent in 1998 compared to the previous year, making Switzerland the seventh largest direct investor in the U.S.

The overall U.S. investments in Switzerland went up by 25 percent and reached $170 billion (SFr255 billion).

This puts Switzerland in eighth position for U.S. investments, predominantly in the banking, insurance and financial services sectors.

During his recent visit to Washington, Swiss Economics Minister Pascal Couchepin underlined the importance of transatlantic relations and announced further measures to improve trade ties.

“We have committed ourselves to the establishment of a bilateral economic commission involving both government members and chief executive officers of private companies,” Couchepin said in a speech in Washington in July.

The formation of such a commission was agreed by U.S. Vice President Al Gore and Swiss President Ruth Dreifuss when they held talks at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos in January.

From staff and wire reports.

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