Exports to the USA: "San Francisco is an ideal starting point for high-tech companies"

Official Switzerland will be bundling its presence and forces under one roof at one location in San Francisco: Pier 17, Embarcadero Waterfront. The Trade Point San Francisco of Switzerland Global Enterprise, will be there too, represented by Sandra Tobler, Trade Commissioner.
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco.

The office in San Francisco will support Swiss companies in their expansion in the Northwest of the US in its function as one of the four trade points of the Swiss Business Hub USA (with its headquarters in New York) and inversely to make the location of Switzerland popular with companies from the region.

Likewise based in the new office are, among others, the Swiss Consulate-General, responsible for 13 states west of the Rocky Mountains, swissnex San Francisco for promoting cooperation with the US in science, higher education, art and innovation and Switzerland Tourism for promoting Switzerland as a vacation destination.

The San Francisco office at "Swiss Pier" was officially opened on September 23, 2016. It has been active for a few months longer, at least as a Trade Point of the Swiss Business Hub. We wanted to find out from Sandra Tobler what makes the US, especially the San Francisco region and the Northwest of the country, so attractive to export companies, how the Trade Point San Francisco bundles and coordinates its tasks and how Swiss SMEs can benefit from this in their expansion into the Northwest.

Sandra, what inspired Switzerland Global Enterprise to open an additional Trade Point in San Francisco?

San Francisco is an ideal springboard into the US market for high-tech companies, specifically for Swiss companies in the IT, biotech and life sciences sector. Demand in the food and MEM area is very promising too. Inversely, San Francisco is also a good starting point to lure investments to Switzerland. Many fast growing high-tech companies on the West Coast of the US want to expand to Europe. They often have Switzerland in mind in this connection.

How does the Trade Point support Swiss SMEs' expansion into the US?

First, we evaluate whether the company could even find buyers for its product or service in the US. US consumers are for the most part focused on products from the domestic market. Thereafter we determine together with the customer the best way to get a foothold in the US market – with a branch office, a local distributor or even a company of their own. We help companies with questions regarding statutory and tax conditions or also registrations and certifications. In doing so we work closely with experts from the region. In addition, we support companies in market development, for example, with detailed market analyses, the mediation of distribution partners, the identification of end-customers, capital procurement and the organization of events.

What kind of activities are planned for next year?

Primarily trade support, oriented to the needs of our clients. Various delegation trips are also planned. In March we will organize an event at the International Game Developers Conference for potential investors in which a delegation with approximately 15 Swiss start-ups, supported by Pro Helvetia and swissnex, will take part and present themselves to potential investors and business partners. As ambassadors of a Switzerland with advanced innovativeness and lots of know-how, so to speak.

What synergies arise through the grouping of several organizations in the San Francisco office?

We from the Trade Point San Francisco are naturally happy and proud to be part of these organizations united under one roof and representing Switzerland at the Swiss Pier. I look forward to profitable mutual exchanges of experience and an even better networking on site, from which our respective customers will then also be able to benefit. We are at home here in the heart of San Francisco’s tourist district on the Embarcadero, between the Exploratorium and Fisherman’s Wharf – a really inspiring environment in order to promote Switzerland successfully as an investment location and be able to promote Swiss exports to the USA.

Country Consulting (November 29 to December 1)

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