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Zurich (ots) - On the occasion of the state visit of Her Excellency Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil to Switzerland, a meeting between representatives of Indian and Swiss business took place today. The purpose of the discussions was the further intensification of economic relations. The event was organised by economiesuisse, the Swiss-Indian Chamber of Commerce and three Indian business federations and was opened by the Presidents of the two countries.
In the course of the past two decades, India has become integrated in the world market and has been growing strongly, with its GDP increasing at a mean annual rate of 5.8%, so that it is now one of the world's ten largest national economies. Today, India is one of Switzerland's most important partners in Asia and has tremendous potential for the future. Commodity trade is flourishing, and the volume exceeded the 3.5-billion Swiss-franc mark for the first time in 2010. Despite the difficult world economic climate, Switzerland's exports to India have grown by a good 19% in the first eight months of 2011, while its imports from there have gone up by 17%. In the field of services too, for instance in tourism and the information-technology sector, India is more and more becoming an important partner. One example of this is that the number of overnight stays by Indian tourists in Switzerland has increased by 21% so far this year.
Under the leadership of Valentin Vogt, President of the Swiss Employers' Union and a member of the committee of the board of directors of economiesuisse, and Francesco Gherzi, President of the Swiss-Indian Chamber of Commerce, the Indian President, Her Excellency Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, accompanied by a high-ranking delegation, met Swiss businesspeople in Berne today. Some 200 Swiss businesses are now already present in India with branches and subsidiaries and employ approximately 60,000 people there. Companies such as Rieter and Zurich Airport reported on their experience at first hand to the gathering of Swiss and Indian businesses. An important step for the further development of the economic relations between Switzerland and India is the conclusion of a comprehensive economic agreement between EFTA and India. The negations were launched in 2008, and their aims are to dismantle trade barriers, to quadruple investments and to intensify cooperation in research, development and high technology. The legal certainty, innovativeness and competitiveness of both partners are being improved through this process. economiesuisse and its Indian counterpart, the FICCI, support the rapid conclusion of a top-quality agreement to make market access easier for small and medium-sized enterprises. The talks about specific sectors focused on training, infrastructure and financial services.
Photographs will be available for downloading from 15:30 onwards at www.economiesuisse.ch .
Dr. Jan Atteslander