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Export promotion agency to simplify structures

Osec aims to help small- and medium-sized enterprises increase their exports Keystone

The Swiss export promotion agency says it is to simplify its organisation to comply with recommendations made by the finance ministry.

This content was published on April 14, 2005 - 19:02

It comes two months after the government rejected demands to increase funding for the agency, known as Osec Business Network Switzerland.

Osec runs a network infrastructure to provide Swiss companies with access to resources they might need to develop their international business relationships or to solve specific problems in the course of an international project.

Speaking at Osec’s annual general meeting on Thursday, director Daniel Küng said the organisation would in future coordinate Swiss external trade as opposed to directing it.

Of the 20,000 small- and medium-sized enterprises in Switzerland with a potential to export only three-quarters did so, Osec said, leaving 5,000 which could require the agency’s support.

Improving efficiency

Osec said that as part of efforts to improve efficiency it had transferred SFr1.5 million ($1.2 million) from its internal organisation to its network infrastructure. It had also cut its staff by 15 per cent.

The agency reported that it made a profit of SFr48,000 last year. It received SFr17 million from the government and SFr1.5 million from members.

In February, the government turned down a call by business leaders for an increase in the federal subsidy to Osec. It recommended that parliament hold funding at the current level of SFr17 million, or SFr34 million for 2006-2007.

Economics Minister Joseph Deiss said the cabinet had agreed with finance ministry recommendations that Osec improve its coordination and cost transparency.

Another recommendation was that the agency avoid competition with private and semi-official export institutions.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Last year Switzerland exported goods and services worth SFr140 billion.
Exports outweighed imports by SFr9.3 billion, compared with SFr6.9 billion in 2003.
In 2004 Osec made a profit of SFr48,000.
It received SFr17 million from the government and SFr1.5 million from its members.

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