Dear Members of the PSBC:
Thank you dear Chairperson, Mr. Luis Mendez, and Board of Directors for giving me the opportunity to write a few lines to introduce myself to all PSBC members and friends. I arrived about two months ago in the Philippines and I made it a priority to pay courtesy visits at the outset to Swiss and Swiss-related companies. What I saw and heard so far from the business community was truly exciting and encouraging.
Allow me to wish all of you a very meaningful and blessed holiday season. It is my first of a kind Filipino experience, and already it has become very evident to me that it is truly more fun in this warm-hearted country!
I have sat with your Board on two occasions already during their Breakfast Board Meetings, and have cooperated with the PSBC membership in the hosting so far of two Breakfast Discussions at the residence. Needless to say, I am really pleased to be working closely with your Chair, your Board and the general membership, as I congratulate the Council for its activities, and very soon its 2016 Program. Indeed, I look forward to an exciting cooperation in the year ahead, where for the Embassy’s part, we intend to deploy our efforts at forging closer ties, promote Swiss interests and work with Philippine institutions to further strengthen Switzerland as an attractive platform for Philippine exports.
As you are aware, the Philippines and Switzerland, via the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), which includes Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, are moving determinedly towards the conclusion of a Philippine-EFTA free trade agreement. The fourth round of negotiations has just been concluded, with the fifth (and possibly last) scheduled for early 2016. We are now at an advanced stage, where perhaps we could shape even more connections between the policy level being driven by our governments, and the many business experiences and best practices among the PSBC membership. I look forward to working on synergies in this direction and more.
I wish to close with an invitation – a New Year’s Toast on Tuesday January 5, 2016 at the Swiss Residence located at 11 Pili Avenue, South Forbes Park Makati, from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Please save the date and bring with you a business relation interested to network with PSBC members. It would be an honor to personally welcome you as well as your guest, as we all together usher in a very exciting 2016!
Hoping to see you there, as I in the meantime remain
Ambassador of Switzerland to the Philippines