The aim of this new research project is to investigate how Swiss SMEs should respond to the increasing fragmentation of the global economy. "Decoupling" between the U.S. and China refers to efforts to reduce or separate economic and technological linkages between the two countries. Decoupling can mean increasing trade barriers such as tariffs and export restrictions, or limiting the exchange of technologies and data.
The risks for Swiss SMEs due to decoupling between the US and China are manifold. A possible restriction of global trade may lead to Swiss SMEs having difficulties selling their products and services on international markets. In addition, Swiss SMEs that work closely with Chinese companies and suppliers could face difficulties due to sanctions or trade restrictions between the U.S. and China. Relocating production facilities to other countries in order to escape the effects of decoupling could also entail higher costs and lower competitiveness for Swiss SMEs.
In the planned research project, scenarios for a possible decoupling between the American and Chinese economies will be developed in a first step. Then, the expected effects on the international business of Swiss SMEs will be analyzed and necessary adjustments to the business models will be derived.
Participants in the project are the University of Applied Sciences Graubünden, the Bern University of Applied Sciences and the Zurich University of Applied Sciences and Switzerland Global Enterprise as implementation partner.