Switzerland's trade with Argentina has dropped sharply as a result of the deepening recession in the Latin American country. Both exports and imports have slumped.
In the first six months of 2001, Swiss exports amounted to SFr185 million - an 11 per cent drop compared with the same period of 2000.
Exports of pharmaceuticals, chemical products and machinery have all dropped as a result of the recession. However, Swiss watches, making up only six per cent of total exports to Argentina, bucked the trend with exports rising by 50 per cent.
Imports also dropped sharply. In the first six months of 2001, imports from Argentina totalled SFr29 million - a 22 per cent drop in comparison with the same period of the previous year.
Argentina's most important export goods to Switzerland are meat, wine and pharmaceuticals.
Argentina is Switzerland's third biggest Latin American trading partner, with investment and trade amounting to SFr1.3 billion in 1999.
Jean-Jacques Maeder, head of the division for the Americas of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), told swissinfo he does not think that a possible slow-down in the whole of the Latin American economy would have a serious impact on the Swiss export trade, as Latin America only accounts for two per cent of Swiss exports worldwide.
Switzerland has been trying to boost trade with Argentina in recent years. Swiss businessmen went to Argentina last November on an economic mission to promote investment there.