Ladies and gentleman,
Honorable representatives of the Government of Kosovo,
Distinguished members of the business community,
Dear colleagues from the German-Kosovo Chamber of Commerce,
Dear Swiss compatriots,
As you are well aware, CH and Kosovo enjoy a very special relationship. which stems first and foremost from our unique human ties, in particular thanks to Kosovo’s large diaspora in our country.
It is as such not surprising that CH has been continuously committed to supporting prosperity and stability in Kosovo.
The Kosovo diaspora has contributed not only to Swiss values, economy and of course football, but also to progress in Kosovo:
- In 2020, remittances amounted to almost a billion euros (980 Mio EUR), that is 14.2% of the Kosovo GDP.
- 22% of total remittances came from Switzerland.
- And this is without counting the spending by the Kosovo diaspora members when visiting their homeland.
Investments-wise, Swiss investments remain modest (576.7 Mio. EUR in total / 67.5 Mio. in 2020) but it is worth stressing that CH ranks as the 2nd largest foreign investor in Kosovo (just behind D and in front of TU).
We appreciate that most of the 60 Swiss companies registered in Kosovo are actually run by double-nationals.
As you know better than me, investors – both domestic and foreign – and businesses rely on predictability, including political stability and enhanced rule of law as well as a competitive environment.
We trust that the solid majority held by the present Government offers encouraging perspectives in this respect.
Gaining the trust of foreign investors will however require time. Meanwhile, CH believes there are real opportunities to improve our bilateral trade.
In 2020, CH became the fourth destination country of Kosovo’s exports (38.9 Mio. EUR), with exports actually increasing by 35%.
- Goods exported to CH (2019 figures): Plastics and rubber goods (25.7%), furniture (24.2%), metals (19.6%).
Besides the export of goods, we note a marked increase in exports of telecommunications and ICT services from Kosovo (13.90 Mio EUR in 2019 and 35.4 Mio EUR in 2020). This is a very encouraging development which illustrated the still untapped potential of Kosovo.
As regards Kosovo’s imports from CH, these remain quite low (0.7% in 2020) but have nevertheless increased amidst the pandemic by 7.8%.
- Goods imported from CH (2019 figures): vehicles (34%), product for the agriculture (22%), pharmaceutical product (14%), machines (10%).
CH will remain committed to boosting Kosovo’s export capacities.
To that end, we shall continue supporting the private sector, including by supporting men and women acquire market orientated skills.
CH is also considering including Kosovo in its Swiss Import Promotion Programme (SIPPO), which aims at supporting Business Support Organizations – including chambers of commerce and export promotion agencies – to increase their export promotion capacity and service provision.
I would like to mention Switzerland’s intention to facilitate the upcoming negotiations towards the conclusion of a free trade agreement between Kosovo and EFTA Countries, which will also apply to services.
Ladies and Gentleman,
Now moving from theory and figures to today’s reality and to the future Kosovo-Swiss Business Association.
Switzerland welcomes this initiative of the private sector to increase bilateral business engagement by better protecting the interests of companies.
We trust that the Kosovo-Swiss Business Association, with seat in Kosovo, will complement other existing initiatives aimed at enhancing our bilateral economic cooperation and which are based in Switzerland.
On this, allow me to give the floor to the architects of this new Business Association and to thank the company SPEEEX for this initiative.