A major two-day conference on e-commerce is underway at Zurich's World Trade Centre. It has been organised by the United States embassy and the Swiss economics ministry under the auspices of the US-Swiss joint economic commission.
The conference is being co-chaired by the Swiss economics minister, Pascal Couchepin, and the US ambassador to Berne, Richard Fredericks.
Keynote speakers from both sides of the Atlantic will address issues from getting started in e-commerce to future financial trends and privacy concerns.
"We have a real stellar list of speakers and participants," says Fredericks. "They are stars in their fields, whether in developing or applying the new e-commerce technology."
It is the first major event held under the umbrella of the US-Swiss Joint Economic Commission which aims to foster understanding and cooperation between the two countries.
Switzerland's economics minister, Pascal Couchepin, and the US Trade Secretary, William Daly, launched the Commission at the World Economic Forum in Davos last January.
"The real story here is what this conference says about US-Swiss relations," says Fredericks.
"Our cultures share a lightning-swift eye for opportunity and new sources of prosperity," he said. "It is natural that our two governments in the context of the Joint Economic Commission, should join with our two private sectors in holding this conference from which new business opportunities, jobs and educational possibilities will flow."
Participating companies include Swisscom, UBS, McKinsey, Novartis and the Boston Consulting Group.
by Michael Hollingdale