Message from Vincent Subilia
Taking advantage of its location at the heart of Europe, one of the main characteristics of the Geneva economy is to have, since the Middle Ages, developed commercial and financial activities which are resolutely outward-looking. A couple of centuries later, Geneva started to welcome refugees, fleeing religious persecutions from neighbouring countries. Thus was founded Geneva’s tradition of being a safe harbour.
These characteristics hold true today. Capital city of global governance, Geneva is home to 39 international organisations including WTO, over 400 NGOs and 931 multinational companies. As such, it is an important centre for international negotiations and rule-making. We strongly believe that multilateralism is the way to shared prosperity, hence the proposed theme for the 13th World Chambers Congress.
The Geneva Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services was founded in 1865, by a group of farsighted and determined men who considered it was time to safeguard and promote the trade and industry. In his inaugural address, the first chairman stated that one of the new Chamber’s main tasks would be “to enlighten the government with its information and to formulate requests and suggestions (…) It will also have to disseminate our principles of free enterprise throughout Switzerland.”
Even though the principle of freedom of enterprise is now well established throughout the country, the fundamental mission and operating principles of the Chamber remain the same: independence from the State, defence of private enterprise on the basis of freedom of commerce and industry, free international trade, federalism and healthy public finances.
As an elected member of the General Council of ICC’s World Chambers Federation, where I am proud to represent the Swiss Chambers of Commerce, it is my duty and my pleasure to work, with my colleagues, to improve economic conditions around the globe, notably through international commercial relations.
I am convinced that the Swiss business community will greatly benefit from coming into close contact with the delegates and businesses of the vibrant community of the Chambers of commerce who, in their turn, will be afforded the unique opportunity of leveraging the expertise of international Geneva.