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Message of President

Author
Heinrich Wegmann
Published
June 2011

Dear Members and Friends

This year's Annual General Meeting which took place on May 25th, 2011 at the Zunfthaus zur Meisen was overshadowed by the unfortunate and shocking events that have stricken Japan on March 11th. We extend our heartfelt and deep sympathy to the people of Japan and hope for a fast recovery of all negative impacts.

In my annual report outlining our last year's activities I was pleased to refer to our 25th anniversary with two main events underlining this milestone in our history, namely the AGM with Peter Brabeck, Chairman of Nestlé S.A., delivering the main speech, as well as our Gala Ball at the Dolder Hotel in late October. After this celebration, however, the chamber has to focus on the future and leave the past behind. We are all confronted with an ever increasing competitive environment with changes occuring at fast speed. While in the early years after its inception, the Swiss-Japanese Chamber of Commerce could enjoy the enthusiasm of an incredible boom in Japan, today we are confronted with many challenges. Against this backdrop, however, we are pleased to note that the manyfold relations between Switzerland and Japan are progressing in a very satisfactory way. The recently concluded Economic and Free Trade Partnership Agreement between the two countries provides a solid platform for this.

Our treasurer, Felix Bossert, reported about our financial situation which is sound given the strong membership base we continue to experience.

Paul Dudler, Chairman of the Scholarship Fund, outlined the Chamber's efforts in replacing lost income due to the resignation of the main sponsor. He was happy to report that the existing sponsors still provide substantial contributions to continue this program albeit on a smaller scale.

I, together with the Board, would like to thank all members and friends for their support and patronage of the Chamber as well as the Scholarship Fund.

The main speech at this gathering was delivered by Yves Serra, President and CEO of Georg Fischer AG. He presented his views on the ongoing strong and forceful drive of Swiss manufacturing companies in foreign markets. A strategy to maintain manufacturing of highest quality products and components as well as research activities in Switzerland combined with manufacturing in various promising, fast growing markets, such as for example China, enables good results. As to Japan, Yves Serra was confident that the country will fast recover from the drawback of the recent years. He especially mentioned Japan's strong position as far as manufacturing of essential machine tool and many vital high technology components are concerned. The capabilities in these fields continue to be extremely strong.

The Chamber would like to invite you to participate in the following upcoming events:

  • Lunch with Daniel Küng, CEO of OSEC, on the aims and strategy of OSEC, to take place on 29 August '11.
  • Dinner with Alex Karrer, Understate Secretary and Ambassador, on Switzerland and the IMF, planned for December 1, 2011.

Both events will take place at the Zunfthaus zur Waag in Zurich.

Sincerely,
Henry Wegmann
President