Switzerland was the third largest investor in the United States in 2001, but most Americans are not aware of the country’s important role in international trade, nor its great potential as a high tech center for European operations, said Mario Brossi, the Swiss senior representative for North America.

          Mr. Brossi will lead a group of economic development representatives from Swiss cantons, or states, to Atlanta for a seminar about investing in Switzerland, on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., at the World Trade Center Atlanta. They will be joined by Swiss Embassy representatives from Washington and the CEO of Dartfish Inc., a Swiss-based digital imaging company with U.S. headquarters here.

          “The Swiss investment footprint is strong in Georgia,” Mr. Brossi, head of Location:Switzerland, an agency in New York promoting foreign investment in Switzerland, told GlobalFax. “It is time for Georgia companies to learn about the great incentives Switzerland has for foreign investors wanting to get involved in high tech industries in Europe.”

He said that Switzerland has the lowest value-added taxes in Europe – 7% compared to the European Union average of 18%. Since Switzerland is not a member of the EU, it is a more politically independent and economically competitive location for investment in the region, Mr. Brossi said.

          Switzerland was ranked first in a recent Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) study on countries’ abilities to exploit the “knowledge intensive industries” of the 21st century, including biotechnology and nanotechnology.

          The seminar will address tax issues involved in setting up operations in Europe and Switzerland, presented by Ernst & Young. Seminar panelists will also discuss growth sectors in Europe, how to enter these markets and how to finance investments in the region.

          Swiss International Air Lines and Switzerland Tourism will raffle off two trips to Switzerland during the event.

The event is free of charge. RSVP to (212) 599-5700 or caroline.blaser@nyc.rep.admin.ch or contact Kimberly Corradi, the Swiss trade commissioner in Atlanta, at (404) 870-2010 for more information. Contact Mr. Brossi at mario.brossi@was.rep.admin.ch