Home > Trade & Investment > View from the Top

Swiss Innovation Thriving in Mexico's Economy

Pietro Piffaretti -
Ambassador of Switzerland for Mexico and Belize
Home > Trade & Investment > View from the Top

Swiss Innovation Thriving in Mexico's Economy

Rubén Araiza Díaz - Swiss Business Hub México
Ruben Araiza


Perla Velasco By Perla Velasco | Journalist & Industry Analyst - Wed, 07/19/2023 - 16:16

share it

Q: How would you define the relations between Mexico and Switzerland? What are the priorities of this relationship?

PP: A couple of years ago, we celebrated the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Mexico and Switzerland. However, we have more than 100 years of relations at the consular level. We also have deep historical ties, as Mexico has welcomed many Swiss with open arms during a difficult time for our country. This is the human and historical basis of our solid bilateral relationship. The economic relationship we have with Mexico is second only to that with Brazil. 

Sustainability is also a fundamental element in our relationship. A few decades ago, there were problems with acid rain and deforestation. Fortunately, our authorities reacted and took some public measures to completely reverse the threat and, today, the country is in a better environmental situation. Switzerland's experience comes from dealing with ecological mismanagement and we want this experience to be a message of encouragement.

Q: How important is the Swiss Business Hub in Mexico?

PP: Since the early 2000s, the cumulative investment by Swiss companies in the country has totaled more than US$9 billion. There are around 400 active companies that generate more than 52,000 jobs, which are concentrated in the State of Mexico, Queretaro, the Bajio, Guadalajara and other regions. 

The Swiss Business Hub is our Investment and Trade Promotion Agency between Switzerland and Mexico. It is one of our 23 global representations and it has the mandate of promoting Switzerland, attracting investment and fostering trade relations. We also collaborate with the Swiss-Mexican Chamber of Commerce, which was established only six years ago. One of our primary objectives is innovation, which we share with countries like Mexico.

RA: Analyzing the history of the trade balance between Switzerland and Mexico, the sectors with the most trade are pharma and chemicals, followed by machinery, metal mechanics and watchmaking. Mexico has a large luxury watch market, importing more than Brazil and Colombia combined. We have aligned ourselves with the growth of key industries in Mexico, such as automotive, medical devices and fintech, which was boosted by the pandemic along with e-commerce.

Q: What role do talent and skilled labor play in Mexico-Switzerland economic activities?

PP: Switzerland has an interesting model called dual-training, where companies become an active player in the training of its young employees. Young people in Switzerland must enter a company where they spend half their time working and another part of the time at school. With this model, we are developing the talent that the industry needs through a permanent dialogue between the industry and the state. This model reduces the gap between training and employability and is an important factor for economic success. 

RA: There is an agreement with the Ministry of Labor in Mexico to broaden this program. There are already Swiss companies that are implementing it and that are working with institutions like CONALEP. There is an interest in growing the supply of technicians due to the lack of professionals with these skills. There is also an ongoing brain drain, which contributes to the internal supply problem. Switzerland has a long history with the dual model, which has also allowed social mobility. It is a proven system.

Q: How has the collaboration between the embassy and the Swiss Business Hub worked?

PP: The embassy opened a trade promotion office in 2012 and two years later, it became the Swiss Business Hub. The growing nearshoring trend made the hub more essential. Companies seeking to relocate have been drawn to Mexico due to the realization that the country's conditions are even better than those in the US. The hub aims to comprehend Mexico's economic and social landscape, while also benefiting from it. 

We have modernized 20-year-old agreements and have provided the infrastructure to attract business to Mexico. Mexico has an extraordinary geostrategic position with connection to the Pacific and the Atlantic alongside a strong network of trade agreements that include more than 50 countries.

RA: Despite the pandemic, Swiss companies kept wanting to come to Mexico. Projects may be smaller but their numbers allowed us to reach our investment objective. Despite the slowdown in the economy, relocation efforts did not stop. Priority sectors in Mexico saw significant growth, considering that many Swiss companies not only seek to supply the local market but also the rest of North America. 

We work with 100 experts in various industries who help us to execute projects. We follow a mandate to promote investment and exports from Switzerland to Mexico in any business category. Similarly, the mandate is to bring Mexican companies to Switzerland that generate added value and sources of employment. Last year, we took two Mexican companies that are investing in Switzerland.

Subsidies can be provided through Switzerland Global Enterprise, which has been internationalizing Swiss companies for more than 70 years. It focuses on SMEs, which generate 70% of employment in Switzerland. 

We also want to participate in the Sonora Plan. We have had meetings with Swiss companies that can provide added value. Switzerland has a triple A rating in terms of stability and risk, which is the best rating in the world. Financing for the entire project can be offered on the condition that 20% is in the hands of Swiss companies.

You May Like

Most popular