Switzerland is on a roll in terms of inward investment, attracting more new foreign direct investment initiatives and creating more new jobs in 2004 than the previous year. Investors from many countries are active in Switzerland, but the single largest slice of the FDI pie comes from investors based in the U.S.
Switzerland also has created a yearly award to honor those companies based in the U.S., Canada and Mexico that make the most "significant" investments in a number of categories.
Last year, 526 firms made new or expanded investments in Switzerland, according to the country's inward investment agency, Location: Switzerland. The agency said its supporting data was compiled by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs in Berne.
"Of the 526 projects, 43 hailed from the U.S., Canada and Mexico," according to Mario Brossi, Location: Switzerland's senior representative for North America. In 2003, the country attracted 446 projects and 2,091 new jobs.
"The U.S. continues to be the largest single foreign investor in Switzerland, with a total of $86bn to date, according to the latest figures by the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce," Brossi says. "Increasingly, these investments also include relocations by North American and other firms already based within the EU that seek to benefit from the business-friendly labor laws, world-leading quality of life, access to a well-educated, multilingual and highly productive workforce, and a favorable and moderate tax regime."
Among its new investors, Switzerland counts Biogen Idec, Cellgene, Sigma-Aldrich, Honeywell, UPS Supply Chain Solutions, Salesforce.com and Zimmer Holdings. Recent relocations of North American firms from other parts of Europe include Nova Chemicals, Cargill, Gillette and General Mills from the U.K.; Colgate-Palmolive, Invacare International and Polo Ralph Lauren from France; and Fischer Imaging and John Deere from Germany.
"These projects from North America and other regions of the world bring new talent and investment to Switzerland and continue to attest to the country's standing as one of the most attractive foreign direct investment destinations globally," Brossi says.
In a related development, the investment promotion agency has announced an annual award to recognize significant projects in Switzerland by U.S., Canadian and Mexican companies.
"The Tell Award, named for Swiss legendary hero William Tell, each year will be presented to foreign investors that made the most significant investments or expansions in Switzerland during the previous year," Brossi says. "All award winners will become members of the Tell Society."
Swiss cantons, regional investment promotion agencies, and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs nominate candidates for the award.
Criteria for the most significant investment include facility size and function, growth potential in physical size and employment count, and the extent to which the investment diversifies or broadens the types of businesses within a region.
Four top prizes will be awarded to:
• The most significant new investment project in manufacturing
• The most significant new investment in the service industry
• The most significant expansion by an existing investor, and
• The most promising "disruptive technology" or other cutting edge example of innovative design.
Visit www.locationswitzerland.ch for additional information.
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