Message of Swiss Ambassador to Brazil

André Regli

Annual Report 2013; pag. 25

It is with great pleasure that I began serving as the new Swiss Ambassador to Brazil last September, after having been previously posted in Brazil over 12 years ago. During this last decade, Brazil has gone through a dynamic period of transformation-one of the changes being the way Brazil is perceived from the outside. Also, in Switzerland the interest in Brazil has grown considerably and will remain high in light of the upcoming events, such as this year's World Cup and the Olympic Games in 2016. It is my task as Ambassador to build on this increasing interest and continue cultivating and strengthening the already excellent relations and links between our two countries. To this end, the most appreciated contributions of Swiss companies in Brazil and their representatives are also crucial and I am committed to pursuing good cooperation between the Embassy, Swisscam, the Swiss Business Hub, and Swiss companies doing business in Brazil.

We all are aware of the economic deceleration and its fiscal effects that Brazil has experienced in 2013. The forecasts for 2014 are moderate. This represents a considerable challenge to the government this year. However, we are confident that with the necessary prudence, this predicament can be dealt with effectively. Brazil is and will continue to be a very promising market for many companies and investors as well as a sought-after partner for cooperation in a variety of fields and on many different topics.

This reality is also reflected in our dynamic bilateral relations; Switzerland and Brazil cooperate on a wide range of themes and since 2008 our strategic partnership has set the framework for this institutionalised exchange and collaboration. This political dialogue gives us the mutual opportunity to discuss important developments in our bilateral relations and get first-hand information on the Brazilian viewpoint on international trends and vice-versa. Through the joint economic commission we have the opportunity to bring different stakeholders from the public and private sector together once a year, discuss common challenges and seek solutions. Our cooperation in science and research not only promotes young talents, but also brings brilliant minds together by making research projects between Swiss and Brazilian universities possible. The yearly financial dialogue strengthens the cooperation on financial and macroeconomic policy issues, helps us to identify areas of complementary interest and facilitates cooperation in international financial fora.

2014 will be a very exciting year for Swiss-Brazilian relations. I am very happy to announce that a science consulate-swissnex-which also exists in other selected countries, will be opened in Rio de Janeiro in April. swissnex is an important tool to implement Switzerland's policy of developing bilateral cooperation ties with important partner countries in the areas of education, research, and innovation. The launch of swissnex in Rio de Janeiro demonstrates the significance of Brazil as a partner. It will connect Swiss and Brazilian scientists, researchers, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders, facilitate academic programs and knowledge exchange, and inform on developments in science, technology, education, and innovation policies.

First and foremost this year's highlight will obviously be the World Cup with the participation of the Swiss national team. I am very proud that Switzerland will be taking part in this great event and wish them much success. The Embassy, together with our Consulates, will organise a series of events for Swiss and Brazilian fans. We will set up a House of Switzerland in Rio de Janeiro which will give visitors of the World Cup the opportunity to experience Swiss hospitality and specialties. Additionally, we aim to enhance knowledge about Switzerland in Brazil by launching a visibility campaign in all the cities where the Swiss national team will play. But our communication and campaigning for Switzerland will not stop at the end of the World Cup. We wish to have a lasting effect and have therefore worked out a long-term communication strategy that will cover the entire period until after the Olympic Games in 2016. This platform also offers a great opportunity for Swiss companies in Brazil to gain more visibility and show themselves from a different angle to the Brazilian public. I invite Swiss-Brazilian companies to take advantage of this opportunity.

I would like to acknowledge Swisscam's great efforts in promoting Swiss-Brazilian trade. I am looking forward to continued cooperation, together with the Swiss Business Hub, and Swisscam member companies, particularly during such an intense year. By working together we will not only succeed in maintaining Brazil as one of the most interesting locations and markets for Swiss companies in Latin America, but we will also be able to remediate remaining obstacles and tap the full potential of economic opportunities in Switzerland and Brazil for Brazilian and Swiss companies alike. I wish to reiterate my great satisfaction to be back in Brazil as Ambassador and my motivation to embark on a new and exciting journey together with you.