July 3, 2013
In the past few weeks, the Swiss newspapers have been littered with an uncomfortable and poisonous prospect: the U.S. A financial force banging its chest from its modest economic recovery is demanding tax justice from Switzerland. The stable currency, neutrality and talented investment acumen that the Swiss have quietly touted to global investors has allowed them to amass some 30-40% of foreign investments. Now the tables are turning. With increasing pressure from the U.S., Switzerland is about to be forced into giving up one of its oldest and most sacred treasures – the hidden, numbered, off-shore Swiss bank accounts. So far this only seems to be relevant to U.S. account holders, but the vultures are already beginning to circle. France, Germany and the U.K. will almost certainly follow suit once the dust clears and the stage opens up for more opportunistic assaults on secret Swiss accounts.
Switzerland is under growing pressure, but their tedious reputation borne from perfection and performance is not a threat. Even if the worst does come to this small economic powerhouse, Switzerland will be far from failing, and it is more than cheese and alpine tourists that will see it through. A spin-off from the world-class watchmaking industry, Switzerland´s medical device and technology industry, or “medtech” as they call it, has snuck right up to the top of global markets in recent years surpassing growth rates of 12% in 2010 and establishing one of the most dense medical technology landscapes in the world. The Swiss medtech industry is diverse and well supported, providing products and services ranging from high-precision machined parts and devices to engineering and clinical trials consulting. Leading in numbers are companies who manufacture implants out of titanium, high-tech metal alloys and other materials (15% of medtech manufacturers produce dental implants, 10% inactive implants). True to their reputation, over the last decade the Swiss have managed to carefully construct a world-class medtech industry which now contributes to a larger percentage of GDP and total exports (as a percentage of the country´s total) than any other country in the world. With the infrastructure, skilled workforce and favorable tax incentives, the medtech industry in Switzerland has everything going for it.
This September 17 -19, Switzerland will host its second annual World Medtech Forum in Lucerne. Unlike typical sector events this “think outside the box” Forum will feature not only a medical suppliers trade fair but also a three-day economic and industry focused conference, partnering and meeting events, and a rich line-up of networking and afterhours events. The Forum conference, which previously hosted an elite attendee list of over 87% C-level executives, dedicates a day each to executive issues – the North American market and the South American market. With speakers from BMW, B. Braun, Stryker, Sonova, INSEAD and more, the 2013 World Medtech Forum offers attendees an exclusive setting to get the most current information on today’s changing medtech and device landscape while networking with key decision makers.
See you in Lucerne!
-Sarah Moyle, Head of International Relations at Medtech SwitzerlandAuthor : MedTech Europe