The situation is currently complicated for exporting Swiss SMEs: never before have the growth prospects in international markets been so good. The globalization of the economy has continued to advance in recent years, while digitization and the fourth industrial revolution are further simplifying the transport of goods and data across borders. In addition, there is a growing, affluent middle class in the emerging economies of Asia and Latin America.
However, these positive export perspectives cannot obscure the emergence of globalization’s counter-trend, which has been making itself felt again for several years now: protectionist currents are increasing in many regions of the world. The acceptance of free trade has been declining in recent years, especially in some of Switzerland’s most important export markets.
“Many SMEs are wondering how to deal with this coexistence of globalization and protectionism, and what the right formulas are,” says Daniel Küng, CEO of Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE). “We have therefore decided to make the field of tension between globalization and protectionism the focus of this year's Forum for Swiss Foreign Trade.”
To hold one’s ground in international markets, one not only needs courage, but also ideas and inspiration. And Swiss SMEs can get these at the Aussenwirtschaftsforum – for example, from this year's keynote speaker Christiane Leister, owner and President of the Advisory Board of the globally active Leister Group. In her presentation, she will explain how SMEs can successfully grow between globalization and protectionism. Inspiration can also be found at the Swiss Business Hub Talk. Here, the heads of the Swiss Business Hubs Germany, USA, China, and the Middle East will reveal the world regions in which growth opportunities are currently being created for international business.
2. Going depper
Swiss SMEs are facing a multitude of complex issues in international markets: How should one adapt to changing market and customer requirements? How should one respond to protectionist tendencies in a market? What does customer management mean in the digital age? As part of the breakout sessions of our partners Credit Suisse, AXA Winterthur, PwC, SWISS, Data Quest und International SOS, experts will highlight and discuss the impact that the conflict between globalization and protectionism has on key aspects of the export economy.
3. Practical advice
The Aussenwirtschaftsforum not only provides inspiration, but also space for practical advice. In executive talks, Swiss CEOs, such as Eva Jaisli from PB Swiss Tools, Tobias Gerfin from Kuhn Rikon or Manuel Grenacher from Coresystems (Credit Suisse Executive Talk), share how they prepare their companies for business between globalization and protectionism.
4. Useful information
Whether it concerns questions about the handling of free trade agreements and WTO rules, tips on dealing with market access and trade barriers or very specific information on the business potential in a target market: S-GE's export strategy consultants and the representatives of the 22 Swiss Business Hubs are on hand to answer your questions about export at the Aussenwirtschaftsforum.
5. Exchange and networking
The Aussenwirtschaftsforum is the meeting point of the year for Swiss exporters. The breaks between each item will give you time and space to speak with more than 600 participants and numerous SMEs who are facing similar challenges or have already mastered them.
Have we convinced you? Then register now for the Aussenwirtschaftsforum on 26 April 2018 at Messe Zurich.