China leads the rankings ahead of the USA and South Korea. For Alberto Silini, Head of Consulting at S-GE, this is no surprise: “China offers an enormous market for exporting Swiss SMEs. The gross domestic product was already at 11.2 trillion dollars in 2016, and is still rising with growth of over 6%. The question is not whether there is potential, but rather whether businesses have the drive to move into China and if so, how they go about entering the market." Exporting to China is also particularly appealing to Swiss SMEs due to the free trade agreement. “It has been possible to lower or even remove custom duties for a range of industries as a result of the agreement. This gives Swiss businesses a price advantage over competitors from other European countries,” explains Alberto Silini.
A total of 15 different criteria were taken into consideration in order to determine the top export market: These include market size, market potential, export volumes and average market growth in recent years. A total of 107 countries were taken into consideration in the evaluation, and the following ranking emerged:
Positions 1 - 10: China, USA, South Korea, Singapore, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Poland, Japan, Germany
Positions 11 - 20: Ireland, Belgium, France, Australia, Hong Kong, Netherlands, India, Mexico, Turkey, Italy
Positions 21 – 30: Spain, Sweden, Israel, Malaysia, Austria, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Qatar
ASEAN leads the regions
If the different regions are assessed for their attractiveness to exporting Swiss SMEs, the ASEAN region, covering the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Brunei and Cambodia, leads the pack. This is followed by the Gulf states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates), the Benelux countries (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg), the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Norway), and the CIS states (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tadzhikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan) with southern Africa bringing up the rear (Botswana, Lesotho, Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique, Zambia).