Message of President

Christian Hanssen

Annual Report 2010; pag. 19

The year of 2010 was extremely positive for Brazil, with many activities impacting SWISSCAM too.

The most significant activities are worth mentioning. We participated in six trade fairs, among which I would highlight Hospitalar (medical), Ambiental Expo (Environment), CIOSP (dental), among others, where we organized a stand for exhibitors under the Swiss flag, in the broad sense of the word. As mentioned last year, this activity has been gaining profile and obtaining considerable financial results. Overall, we ended the year by reaching our target, which was a slightly positive result. We also noticed a slight increase in our membership.

We also organized specific meetings with agendas involving legal, financial & economic, human resources, and other subjects, which were held over 25 times in the course of the year.

We held three lectures on topics of interest to our members. One of our guests was Professor Luciano Coutinho (President of BNDES); Senator Garibaldi Alves Filho, and Mr. José Nêumanne Pinto (journalist).

Brazil has undoubtedly been a positive highlight on the international scenario, promoting visits from Swiss authorities.

We had the pleasure of welcoming the new Federal Councilor of the Department of the Interior, Mr. Didier Burkhalter, who, among other duties, is responsible for the Ministries of Education, Research and Technology, Health, Social Security and Culture. He led a distinguished delegation composed of the Secretary of State, federal university presidents, and directors of health organizations.

The delegation was received by Brazil's Ministers of Science & Technology, Education, and Health to discuss opportunities for closer relations between both countries.

On this occasion, a latest-generation "super computer" was officially donated to the International Neurosciences Institute in Natal, State of Rio Grande do Norte (RN).

During his visit to the Swiss-Brazilian School in Sao Paulo, there was personal contact with the Swiss community, followed by a meeting with representatives of the top Swiss companies.

We also had a visit from a committee composed of two Swiss senators and three members of congress from the Federal Parliament of Switzerland's working group on economic and monetary policy, who sought to obtain personal impressions of the Brazilian economy.

This committee was hosted by the Swiss Embassy in Brasilia, the São Paulo employers association FIESP, Getulio Vargas Foundation business school, and a delegation of parliamentarians from Brasilia.

They also visited leading companies in the sugar-ethanol market, meat packing plants, and Itaipu hydroelectric dam in the State of Paraná.

In addition, we received a visit from Mr. Jean-Daniel Gerber, Secretary of State and Head of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs of the Swiss Ministry of Economic Affairs (SECO), who delivered a speech on bilateral economic relations. The main issues discussed were interests in negotiating a double taxation treaty, improving intellectual property protection, high tariffs on certain imports, and possible collaboration on mutual recognition of healthcare industry certifications.

All these events clearly point to the ascent of Brazil as a country gaining a voice on the world stage. However, there are enormous challenges to overcome. Perhaps the most important one of them is the educational system, at all levels. This issue will no doubt have a limiting influence on medium-to-long term economic growth. We hope the newly elected government will recognize this problem and resolve it as a top priority.

I wish to thank the SWISSCAM team and its management members for their effort to ensure quality service for our members.

Last but not least, I emphasize the constantly positive support from the Embassy in Brasilia and the Consulate General, which is essential to the success of our activities.