KARACHI (APP) - Switzerland ranks fifth in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Pakistan. This was stated by the Consul General of Switzerland in Karachi, Martin Bienz. In a message here on Thursday on the eve of the National Day of the Swiss Confederation, he said that in the last seven year, the Swiss based multinational companies have invested 1.2 billion dollars. The Consul General also pointed out that Switzerlands existence as a modern federal state dates back to 1848 with the introduction of the first federal constitution taking into special consideration the cultural diversity of the country reflected in the four national languages German, French, Italian and Rumantsch. He said that Switzerlands francophone cultural heritage and its membership in the International Organization of the Francophonie will be featured on a high level when the city of Montreux, located on Lake Geneva, will be the host of the 13th Francophonie Summit from October 22-24, 2010. The meeting is expected to attract 3,000 participants including 70 Heads of State and Government representing one-third of all United Nations General Assembly member countries, from both the developed and developing nations. As is the tradition, the host nation proposes the main topics. Switzerland has opted for challenges and future visions of French-speaking countries with the main focus on global governance and democracy, sustainable development, and the French language and its cultural diversity. The Consul General said that the co-existence of different languages and local cultural traditions is common ground shared by Pakistan and Switzerland. The bilateral relations between our two countries have always been very friendly and multi-faceted. The Consulate General of Switzerland in the economic and financial centre of Karachi is mainly focussing on trade and investments. Swiss companies started doing business in this region way back in 1861 when the Volkart Brothers, at that time a leading cotton trading house, opened their first subsidiary in Karachi. The result of the nearly 150 year long business partnership is indeed remarkable. The Consul General said that Switzerland is currently ranking 5th in terms of foreign direct investments in Pakistan. During the past seven years, Swiss based multinational companies have invested over 1.2 billion US$ in areas like food processing, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, engineering as well as banking and other service sectors. They are generally satisfied with the course of business and - based on the market potential - maintain an optimistic outlook despite certain concerns in connection with the ongoing energy shortages and the law-and-order situation. Bilateral trade has shown consistent growth over several years and is now further picking up in the aftermath of the global recession. The trade volume is expected to exceed 400m Swiss Francs this year. Swiss exports to Pakistan are driven by a high demand of pharmaceutical products and raw material whereas textiles and garments continue to be the principal Pakistani export items to Switzerland. The important aspects of todays business practices are criteria related to corporate social responsibility. The UN Global Compact as a strategic policy initiative in this area has defined 10 globally accepted principles on issues like human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. The Swiss Government fully supports this initiative and will fund a two year programme in Pakistan to strengthen these significant principles through the Global Compact Local Pakistan Network. The Consul General said that he would like to encourage Pakistani and multinational companies to join this meaningful campaign.