FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
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Office of Public Affairs, 202-482-4883
Delegation focused on SelectUSA Investment Summit, promoting effective apprenticeship models, and innovative R&D
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett and Director of the National Economic Council Jeffrey Zients today hosted a delegation of Swiss business leaders in Washington, D.C. The delegation, led by Vice President of the Swiss Confederation, Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann and U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein Suzan LeVine, included chief executive officers and senior executives from Alevo Group, Bühler, Kudelski Group, Nestlé, Novartis, Pilatus Aircraft, Reha Technology, and Zurich Insurance Group.
This delegation was invited to the United States as part of an Administration-wide effort to expand job-creating foreign direct investment (FDI) through the SelectUSAprogram, which is housed within the Department of Commerce. The eight executives announced plans to invest approximately $3 billion in their U.S. operations starting in 2015, reflecting strong and persistent growth of Swiss investment in the U.S. economy. Several of the participating companies have also committed to attending the 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit, to be held in March.
“I’m thrilled to welcome Federal Councillor Schneider-Ammann and the Swiss delegation to the United States to focus on mutually-beneficial investment opportunities,” said Secretary Pritzker. “Swiss investment in the U.S. currently ranks 6th among all countries and supports hundreds of thousands of American jobs, and the fact that leading Swiss brands have chosen to operate their subsidiaries here is a testament to our nation’s competiveness. These companies recognize the value that U.S. operations bring to a successful global strategy, and we are eager to welcome additional Swiss investment to our shores.”
Swiss foreign direct investment (FDI) into the United States grew by 115 percent from 2009-2013, from $65 to $140 billion. Switzerland is the 6th largest source of FDI in United States, and U.S. subsidiaries of Swiss firms employed more than 472,200 U.S. workers in 2012. Swiss investors are the top international source of research and development (R&D) investment in the United States, spending nearly $9.4 billion in 2012.
“Today’s talks at the White House were very productive,” said Federal Councillor Ammann. “The United States is one of Switzerland’s most important trading partners. Swiss companies contribute to the U.S. economy through their investments and by creating jobs, and we want to strengthen that cooperation. We take pride in the fact that our American partners are interested in our apprenticeship programs as part of our successful educational system.”
The participating companies shared feedback on the U.S. investment climate and on opportunities to partner on workforce development. Executives described how they are adapting the unique Swiss model of apprenticeships to the United States to strengthen both their competitiveness and their local communities.
“America is home to some of the most productive, highly-trained workers in the world and that’s why we continue to see broad-based economic growth across a number of sectors. Companies from around the world are interested in investing in the U.S. to take advantage of our pipeline of skilled workers,” said Secretary Perez. “We continue to develop our workforce by investing in innovative training programs that work, like registered apprenticeships. By partnering with Swiss companies, who have extensive experience with apprenticeships, to expand and start new Registered Apprenticeships, we will provide many more Americans with access to good middle-class jobs.”
Apprenticeships, which allow workers to “earn while you learn,” have long been recognized as one of the best training models for skilled trades, but have been underutilized in the United States. Several European countries, including Switzerland, have incorporated the apprenticeship model as a major tool to develop a skilled workforce. Today’s meeting provided an opportunity for Swiss business leaders to share their experiences with apprenticeships and how that model can be expanded in the United States. These consultations, as well as a recently announced $100 million grant competition, are meant to achieve President Obama’s goal of doubling the number of registered apprenticeships in the U.S. over the next five years. By partnering with Swiss companies to expand and start new registered apprenticeship programs, we will strengthen the pipeline of U.S. workers for in-demand jobs.
Delegation members include:
· Vice President of the Swiss Confederation, Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann
· Suzan LeVine, U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein
· Martin Dahinden, Swiss Ambassador to the United States
· Jean-Claude Beney, Group President of Alevo Group
· Calvin Grieder, CEO of Bühler
· René Steiner, CEO USA of Bühler USA
· André Kudelski, President and CEO of Kudelski Group
· Pablo Wiechers Vice President Operations, Zone Americas Management of Nestlé
· Joe Jimenez, CEO of Novartis
· Thomas Bosshard, President and CEO, Pilatus Business Aircraft, Ltd.
· René Trost, CEO of Reha Technology
· Kathleen Savio, President of Programs and Direct Markets for Zurich North America Commercial