American Swiss Foundation

Briefings

America’s Apprenticeship Renaissance: Swiss-Style Vocational Education in the United States

Switzerland’s apprenticeship system combines vocational training with a paid job. After choosing a job path—be it a traditional trade or a job in IT—an apprentice will spend part of the week in the classroom (vocational education), and the other part gaining skills through on-the-job work experience (the apprenticeship). In the United States, apprenticeships are making a comeback with support from both the public and private sector.

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U.S.-Swiss Free Trade Agreement: When Will It Happen?

Discussions about a U.S.-Swiss free trade agreement have been ongoing, and an agreement remains on the horizon. Switzerland and the United States have long been key trading partners, and the U.S. is the No. 1 destination for Swiss investment, as well as one of the largest foreign investors in Switzerland. Given the strong economic partnership and cross-border investment, a bilateral trade deal may seem a natural fit for the two countries, but some sticking points need special consideration. Here’s what you need to know.

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Building Bridges “Tech Tour” 2019: The American Swiss Foundation Explores Silicon Valley

In late September, the ASF hosted a three-day “Tech Tour” in Palo Alto and San Francisco. More than 50 attendees from across the United States and Switzerland—including 10 members of ASF’s board and advisory councils, 33 Young Leader alumni, and various key partners—took part. They visited the Tesla factory in Fremont, Google Cloud in Sunnyvale, Palantir in Palo Alto, and Genentech in South San Francisco, as well as Stanford University and swissnex San Francisco. Many of the tours, presentations, briefings, and panel discussions were either off the record or under the Chatham House Rule. The following information is presented accordingly, and is combined with open-source material

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Technology Regulation in the 21st Century: Part 1

Charting New Territory in Switzerland, the U.S., and Around the World: How should new and emerging technologies be regulated? Is it realistic to think that technology can be regulated in a meaningful way? While regulation is largely intended to protect consumers and the public, do the regulators understand the technologies they seek to regulate? These questions, and many more, are at the forefront of discussions among business leaders and government officials. Here is some insight into the current state of play in Switzerland and in the U.S.

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Switzerland and the European Union: Balancing Sovereignty and Close Economic Ties

Switzerland is one of only a handful of European countries that are not members of the European Union. While the ties between Switzerland and the EU are strong, the future of the new framework treaty is uncertain.

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How Innovation in Biotechnology Is Shaping the Future

Switzerland and the United States regularly receive highest rankings in global-innovation indices—whether for business, entrepreneurship, technology, science, or education. The explosion of innovation related to biotechnology offers yet more opportunities—and more challenges.

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Blockchain: The Technology for a New and Better Internet?

Switzerland and the United States are leaders of innovation in technology. Blockchain, the technology best known for underlying most cryptocurrencies, has many other potential uses and is viewed by developers and investors as the technology that will create a new kind of Internet. Blockchain makes possible transactions that are faster, cheaper, and more secure than today. What are the challenges and opportunities of this new technology? How are Swiss and U.S. businesses and regulators responding?

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Tax Reform and International Competitiveness

How important is corporate tax reform for a country’s global competitiveness? The U.S. Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December 2017. Has the new tax law improved U.S. competitiveness? Swiss voters rejected a reform proposal in early 2017. Has it affected Switzerland?

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Building Bridges Leadership Conference 2018, Washington, DC

The American Swiss Foundation held its triennial Building Bridges conference on September 27 and 28, 2018. The conference featured alumni of the annual Young Leaders Conferences and U.S. and Swiss leaders in business, government, media, and public policy. Six panel discussions were held at The Heritage Foundation and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

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Crypto Markets: New Money and Exchanges for the Cyber Age?

Cryptocurrencies are hailed as the future of money by some – and dismissed as a bubble by others. What are they? Crypto, bitcoin, blockchain—what does it all mean? There is more in the crypto world than currencies. What does it mean for Switzerland and for the United States?

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Infrastructure Part II: Power Grids and Cyberspace

In the 21st century, the Internet and cyberspace have become standard—even mandatory—components of daily life in the Western world, whether for business, government, or individuals. Electric grids and online systems face growing challenges and threats.

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Public Infrastructure in Switzerland and the United States

Reliable infrastructure is a cornerstone of modern and developed countries. Highways and railways, bridges and tunnels, the electric grid and broadband—today, these are necessary components of nearly every aspect of business and daily life.

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Water, Air, and Climate Change: Energy and Environmental Policy in Switzerland and the United States

Switzerland, which lacks fossil fuels, is phasing out nuclear energy—increasing its dependence on imported energy sources. The United States, meanwhile, is headed for energy independence in the near future, aided by domestic fracking and the Keystone XL pipeline—both controversial.

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Innovation: Switzerland and the United States Still Top the Charts

Both countries regularly receive highest rankings in global-innovation indices—whether for business, entrepreneurship, technology, science, or education. Why?

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Putting the Brakes on Government Spending: Debt Ceiling and Debt Brake

Large budget deficits and high public-sector spending and debt have been pervasive features of modern economies, including in the United States and Switzerland. Employing a debt brake has proven effective at limiting spending, though it is no silver bullet.

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Switzerland: A Global Financial Center in a Globalized World

Switzerland is world-renowned as a leading international financial center. Its long history as a major banking hub with a stable political system and great openness to trade continue to attract investors from around the world.

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Switzerland’s Humanitarian Tradition

Switzerland’s commitment to saving lives, alleviating suffering, and acting as a mediator between hostile countries is a centuries-old tradition based on the human rights ideals.

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In Memoriam: Faith Whittlesey (1939-2018)

Ambassador Whittlesey was the Grande Dame of American-Swiss relations for almost four decades. She led the American Swiss Foundation as Chairman, and later as Chairman Emeritus, for almost 30 years.

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