When one thinks of Swiss exports one generally thinks chocolate and cheese. But the country is only the world’s tenth-biggest chocolate and 15th-largest cheese exporter (the UK exports more cheese than Switzerland).
Across CHF304bn of exports – CHF47.3bn going to Germany, CHF40.1bn to the US, CHF29.6bn to China, CHF19.7bn to France and CHF17.4bn to India – Switzerland is the world’s number-one base-metal watch manufacturer, second-biggest packaged-medicine and human-blood supplier, fourth-biggest coffee exporter and top trading place for gold.
The top export sectors are chemical and pharmaceutical products (CHF104bn); precious metals and gemstones (CHF68bn); machines, appliances and electronics (CHF34bn); and watches (CHF21bn). Switzerland is also one of the world’s most important commodity trading centers and now accounts for as much as 42 percent of the global transit trade in vital commodities such as oil, metal and agricultural goods.
One third of globally traded oil is bought and sold in Geneva and 60 percent of international trade in base metals is handled in Switzerland. Switzerland is also home to 14 Fortune Global 500 companies.