“Osec focuses on providing information and advisory services as well as on supplying the companies with contacts abroad and connections to international networks.” Ruth Metzler-Arnold, Osec President
Osec, Switzerland’s official foreign trade promotion agency, wants to provide companies with even more targeted support to help them find new markets. Its President Ruth Metzler-Arnold Reflects on the growing demands placed on economic diplomacy.
When you listen to Ruth Metzler-Arnold talk about the challenges facing companies in new markets, you might well think she is talking about an endurance sport.
“Companies that want to tap into new export markets must lay extensive groundwork and be capable of withstanding setbacks. They must never lose sight of their goal. And — above all — they need stamina: they need to be prepared for the long haul,” says Metzler-Arnold.
Since mid-2011, Metzler-Arnold has been in charge of promoting Swiss foreign trade.
“Osec is the voice of the Swiss export industry,” she says. “We represent the interests of small and midsized companies that do business outside Switzerland.”
The initial company consultation is always free of charge. Any follow-up market analyses, detailed examination of export plans or contact referrals to potential business partners, on the other hand, are subject to a fee.
“Osec focuses on providing information and advisory services as well as on supplying the companies with contacts abroad and connections to international networks,” explains Metzler-Arnold.
“These are fundamental services that companies may not be able to source from anywhere else. The next steps are then the responsibility of the companies themselves — also from a financial perspective. This is in line with the basic liberal order of Switzerland.”
Osec employs 175 people worldwide, approximately 100 of whom work in Switzerland, which is a fraction of the workforce employed by the equivalent agencies in the UK, France or even Austria.
Consequently, much higher demands in terms of efficiency are placed on the Osec specialists from the areas of export advisory, trade fair organization, communication and marketing as well as finances and IT.