Message of President

05/04/2012
Christian Hanssen

Annual Report 2011; pag. 19

As happens every year, the time to mention the most significant events and make some comments about the economy's recent behaviour and what will happen in the near future has arrived. In a few words, the number of members here in Brazil and Switzerland has increased by some 5% to 226 members.

The balance sheet points to a healthy situation and a balanced result.

This result derives from a participation of our Chamber of Commerce in the organization of trade fairs in Brazil for Swiss companies, an event that has become increasingly significant year after year.

In 2011, we participated in four large events with very positive results, which made the objective of this Board of expanding that activity clear.

Work committees met thirteen times to discuss issues related to financial/economic, legal, communication/marketing and human resource matters, with a very positive feedback from our members.

We made two lunch-presentations for important guests. The Minister Ricardo Lewandowski of STF and President of the Superior Electoral Court made a speech about "The Judiciary Branch and alternative dispute resolutions", and the professor and former Minister of Finance, Antônio Delfim Neto, spoke about "Brazilian Macroeconomic Scenario".

Among the topics addressed, the mechanisms of Central Bank to prevent an excessive valuation of the Real stand out, similarly to what occurred with the National Bank of Switzerland, which was inconceivable in the past.

Both events were very welcomed and stood out in the year.

Like in previous years, we received visitors from Switzerland, with emphasis on the Federal Advisor, Mr. J. Schneider-Ammann, who is in charge of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs-SECO, Federal Office for Agriculture-FOAG, Federal Office for Professional Education and Technology-OPET. Important authorities from the government and industry joined the delegation, with emphasis on His Excellency the Ambassador Eric Martin, Head of SECO Bilateral Committee, Mr. Gerold Büehrer, President of Economiesuisse, the most import industry federation, and CEOs of important Swiss multinational companies.

Mr. Ammann met in Brasília with representatives of the Brazilian government, including Ministers Patriota and Pimentel, to discuss bilateral issues in a drive to expand business. All visits were accompanied by our Ambassador, Mr. Wilhelm Meier.

In São Paulo, there was a meeting with the President of FIESP, followed by a dinner attended by SWISSCAM members.

Undoubtedly, this visit is a clear indication of the increasing importance of Brazil in the world scene.

Over the last years, our country has succeeded to stay away from economic disturbances in developed world, but there are increasing signs of a change in this pattern.

A GDP growth of 2.7% in 2011, lower than in the United States and Germany, clearly indicates the aforementioned change.

Blaming only the overvalued Real for increasing deindustrialization shows the unawareness of all the facts. The main reason for that process is the decreased industrial competitiveness derived from high cost of logistics and energy, and the low public education quality, combined with a very high taxation in all governmental spheres.

In addition, the inefficiency of Public Administration combined with widespread corruption does not allow any improvement in the short term. In light of facts referred to above, I believe that it is important to play our roles as citizens and try to positively influence our government members.

I would like to express my special thanks to the Embassy and to the General Consulate in São Paulo for their support all over the year. I also extend my gratitude to the SWISSCAM Board and team for their effort, and I particularly wish great success to my successor.