SCCC Swiss Canadian Chamber of Commerce (Ontario)
 

SUISSE news Fall 2018 / August 2018

Increasing Swiss Business in Canada
Swiss Global Enterprise

At the end of July, Eros Robbiani took over the management of Swiss Business Hub Canada (SBH) from his predecessor, Markus Reubi.

Eros Robbiani took up his duties as Deputy Consul General of Switzerland and Head of the Swiss Business Hub Canada in July 2018. Eros joined the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs in 1990, he has since lived in 9 countries including Switzerland. Eros Robbiani’s last posting was in Sydney Australia, he is currently based in Montreal accompanied by his wife and their daughter.

SBH provides local support, market information, consulting and networking services to companies from Switzerland and Liechtenstein which are considering the Canadian market. With headquarters set-up in Montreal, the SBH team consists of two trade commissioners, an external business advisor for the Greater Toronto Area and a network of experts across Canada. In addition to promoting Switzerland as an attractive investment location to Canadian companies looking to expand to Europe, SBH has also acted as a strong link for new and experienced companies in the Canadian market since the EFTA-Canada Free-Trade Agreement came into force, in 2009. SBH reports to the Embassy of Switzerland in Canada, works closely with Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE) and routinely responds to inquiries of all kinds.


Export promotion program

As an integral part of Switzerland’s export promotion program, SBH’s mandate is to supplement private initiative by identifying and exploiting market opportunities in Canada by positioning Swiss exporters as internationally competitive providers and by enabling Swiss companies’ access to foreign markets. Swiss Business Hub Canada is one of 22 independent business hubs currently operating on four continents and is run jointly by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through its network of embassies and consulates as well as by S-GE, the trade and investment promotion agency of Switzerland (www.s-ge.com). There is no doubt that being part of the Swiss export promotion program provides synergies and creates trust among SMEs in Switzerland as well as with partners in Canada.

Future goals for SBH

SBH’s main goal is to consolidate and continue its achievements in the recent years and to be prepared for new challenges that might appear on the horizon. For Ontario, the SBH collaborates closely with its SCCC which has partnered-up with independent business development advisor, Michael Stewart, who is mandated to spot opportunities and to offer support to the SBH in the Greater Toronto Area. Additional collaborations with industry experts have been developed in other major cities for various projects and the SBH is committed to strengthen its collaboration with the Consulate General of Switzerland in Vancouver and all other traditional partners.

Another focal point for the SBH is the creation of efficient trend spotting throughout Canada. Not all companies in Switzerland or Liechtenstein automatically think of Canada when looking for new market opportunities abroad. Therefore, providing them with timely, accurate and targeted information about new trends and opportunities can be very valuable. A trend spotting system cannot easily be developed throughout all of Canada and across all industries. Identifying the right areas is challenging as is obtaining access to specific information and the right contact people.

Our experts and partners are most welcome to approach the SBH for trends in their particular field of expertise.
Achieving these goals will certainly raise the number of Swiss companies SBH assists with export activities to Canada, increase awareness of Switzerland as a prime location for investments in Canada and strengthen Switzerland potential as an economic hub. Backed by a global network of experienced advisers SBH prides itself as a strong and trusted partner for its clients, the cantons and the government of Switzerland.

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Mike Stewart has been contracted by the SCCC as a business development advisor to support the Swiss Business Hub efforts in the Toronto region. 

Mike will be a point of contact in Toronto for Swiss companies interested in business opportunities in the region. He can provide advice on local business culture and procedures and make connections to potential customers, partners, distributors and acquisition targets. 

Mike has an extensive background working with foreign companies to establish operations in Ontario and the Toronto region. Most recently he was a director at Toronto Global and prior to that represented the Province of Ontario and was located in both New York and London where he focused on facilitating the entry of foreign companies into Ontario.

In 2017, Canada received only 1.2% of total Swiss exports, which is close to Canada’s share of global GDP. However, given the stellar reputation Switzerland has for innovation and quality there should be excellent opportunities to grow Swiss exports to Canada particularly in sectors that are on a growth curve in Canada.

Please feel free to reach out directly to Mike at mstewart@momentumglobal.ca or +1647 515-8477 to engage in a discussion about opportunities for your firm in the Toronto region.    


Switzerland’s Top Export Segments

Looking at Switzerland’s top ten export product groups some stand out as having significant potential for further exports to Canada.

Machinery including computers: (#2 in top imports globally into Canada in 2017) Ontario is the second largest information and communications technology community in North America and the fastest growing in terms of employment of any major centre on the continent.  There is therefore an ongoing need to supply equipment to this industry both for the telecommunications backbone and support network as well as the equipment and software programs that the people in the sector use. A key sub segment would be technology and services to support and transform the financial services industry in Canada where Toronto is the second largest financial services hub in North America.

Electrical machinery, equipment (#3) and optical, technical, medical apparatus (#6):  In spite of having lost much of its branch plant manufacturing operations, manufacturing continues to be a very important part of the Ontario economy. Although the auto industry is the highest profile segment, there are significant aerospace, plastics, life sciences and cleantech sectors.  There is a consensus that industry in the province needs to become more productive which requires better processes and machinery.  A significant initiative to monitor will be the federal government funded Next Generation Manufacturing Canada “supercluster” in Southern Ontario. This will focus on harnessing strengths in robotics, artificial intelligence and Internet of Things among others and enhancing international supply chains to boost Ontario’s manufacturing productivity and global presence.

Plastics and plastics articles was the fifth largest import segment into Canada in 2017, pharmaceuticals were seventh, articles of iron and steel were eighth and gems and precious metals ninth.

Additional Segment 

Consed on facilitating the entry of foreign companies into Ontario.

In 2017, Canada received only 1.2% of total Swiss exports, which is close to Canada’s share of global GDP. However, given the stellar reputation Switzerland has for innovation and quality there should be excellent opportunities to grow Swiss exports to Canada particularly in sectors that are on a growth curve in Canada.

Please feel free to reach out directly to Mike at mstewart@momentumglobal.ca or +1647 515-8477 to engage in a discussion about opportunities for your firm in the Toronto region.truction and construction materials: Toronto is a region of high growth with by far the largest number of construction cranes of any city in North America.  This requires everything from design to construction and the equipment and materials required by construction firms to hardware and furnishing for residential, office and commercial buildings.  Related to this, furniture, bedding, lighting, prefab buildings was the product group with the tenth most important percentage of imports globally into Canada in 2017.