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Swiss businesses prepare for escalation with China

Thailand is one of the Asian countries which Swiss companies are considering as a second base in the region. Pictured is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha inside the Grand Palace in Bangkok Keystone / Narong Sangnak

Swiss small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) geared to the Asian market are relocating their production to Vietnam, Thailand or India. With such a second location, companies can prepare for a possible escalation in China, according to a top export promoter.

“We’re seeing a trend: ‘China+1’,” said Simone Wyss Fedele, head of export promotion organisation Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE), in an interview with the Schweiz am Wochenende.

The diversification of companies is currently focused on regionalisation in international trade, she said. “Companies are locating development and production for Asia in Asia, for Europe in Europe and for America in America. Globalisation is becoming regional.”

Despite risks, China remains very important, Wyss Fedele said. “It is our third most important trading partner. In the future it will probably be the second most important country after the US.” In an emergency, every company must know which country to choose, she said.

“We think a rigid bloc formation is possible, but unlikely. But if it comes to that, Swiss companies will choose the European bloc – that’s the feedback we’re receiving – and indirectly the US. Without Europe nothing’s possible,” Wyss Fedele said. “Europe as a whole is our most important trading partner and will remain so for the next 20 years.”

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