CH and US: the ties that bind: Switzerland and America have a lot more in common than most people think. The two 'sister republics' enjoy a longstanding relationship anchored in political, economic and social values, and dating back more than 200 years.

AuteurAnderson, Robert

More than a million Americans of Swiss-descent have left their indelible mark on life in the US. Many names top the list of more-famous Swiss, including Meyer Guggenheim, a Swiss immigrant who founded a great American business dynasty. In the early twentieth century, the Guggenheims were among America's wealthiest families.

Louis-Joseph Chevrolet, of La Chaux-de-Fonds origin, was the founder of Chevrolet Motor Car Company and one of the best racecar drivers in the world.

And more recently, came Academy Award-winning Hollywood actress Renee Zellweger, whose father and grandparents were from the tiny village of Au in St. Gallen.

On the other hand, some famous Americans--such as Charlie Chaplin, Elizabeth Taylor, Mark Twain, Yoko Ono, Michael Jackson and Tina Turner--have also called Switzerland 'home' over the years.

In fact, more than 13,000 Americans live and work in Switzerland and a million more visit as tourists each year. In turn, about 70,000 Swiss live and work in the US. Although separated by an ocean, the two countries have established very close ties on the economic and political fronts as well. And this trans-Atlantic partnership is strengthening daily.

Mutually prosperous economic ties

Switzerland is the sixth-largest trading partner of the US, and Swiss foreign direct investment in the US amounted to $124 billion in 2004.

Switzerland is the second-largest foreign investor worldwide in the US manufacturing sector, and more than 600 Swiss companies--including giants such as Nestle, ABB, UBS, Credit Suisse and Novartis--employ about half a million workers in US-based operations.

Switzerland is the eighth-largest purchaser of US private services, and purchases more US goods than India and Russia combined.

On the other side of the coin, America is the second-largest export market for Switzerland after the EU. Moreover, US investment in Switzerland has jumped in recent years to roughly $100 billion annually.

In addition, around 650 American companies, including Google, IBM, and McDonald's, operate in Switzerland, and some, such as General Motors, Proctor & Gamble and Hewlett-Packard, have also chosen the country as the location for their European headquarters.

American consumers have a hearty appetite for Swiss cheese and chocolate, as well as for watches and Swiss Army knives. In 2004, Switzerland exported roughly SFr 14 billion in goods to the US and imported about SFr 6 billion.

Swiss exports to the US also include high-precision...

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