Ambassador McMullen’s Remarks at the 2018 Independence Day Celebration

U.S. Ambassador Edward McMullen delivers remarks at the 2018 Independence Day Celebration in Bern, Switzerland.

Ambassador McMullen’s Remarks for Independence Day Celebration

June 27, 2018


Representatives of the Swiss federal administration,
Representatives of the Liechtenstein government,
Representatives of the Swiss Armed Forces,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you all so much for joining us today to celebrate the 242nd anniversary of American independence.  We are so pleased to welcome guests from the many facets of our engagement with Switzerland and Liechtenstein, exemplifying the breadth and strength of our relationship.

I want to thank the many people who worked so hard to make this event happen, particularly our co-chairs as well as the dozens of Embassy and Residence staff.

I would like to recognize the American and Swiss companies who contributed to our celebration today.  We very much appreciate their generosity.  I encourage you all to read their names on the sign board on the Residence grounds today.

As the United States Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, I am honored to represent the President and the people of the United States in a country where I have travelled extensively and have longstanding friendships.

I am fortunate to have arrived in Switzerland at an opportune moment in our two countries’ history.  The global economy is not only growing again, but also changing rapidly.

And the U.S. and Swiss economies are particularly well-positioned to contribute to, and benefit from, a more prosperous world.  Switzerland and the United States consistently rank in the top five in global innovation rankings.

Our advanced economies are at the forefront of innovation – in manufacturing, financial services, healthcare, and other growing sectors.  So, our mutual investments are poised to deliver even better inventions, solutions, and treatments for the American and Swiss people, and the world.

And while that is an important story, the larger story is that our two countries clearly share important principles — a commitment to competitiveness, longstanding traditions of innovation, and an entrepreneurial spirit.  These are underpinned by deeply rooted common values of democracy, decentralized power, and individual responsibility.

All of these factors contribute to our vibrant bilateral ties.  You likely all know the figures – our two-way trade relationship in goods and services tops $100 billion a year.  American and Swiss companies produce high value goods and services that flow in both directions.  Switzerland is the 7th largest source of foreign direct investment in the United States.  U.S. companies employ over 90,000 people in Switzerland.

But, As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said recently, “our relationships with (partners) are so much greater than just our economic relationships.”

I mentioned that I have arrived in Switzerland at an opportune time.  I believe that we are at the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the United States.

In January, we hosted President Trump and eight members of his cabinet at the World Economic Forum in Davos, and hosted another Cabinet Secretary here earlier in the month.

President Trump was the first U.S. president to visit Switzerland in 18 years.  His bilateral meeting with President Berset, Federal Councilor Schneider-Ammann, and Federal Councilor Cassis was an historic opportunity to reaffirm our mutual interests and open up new avenues for cooperation.

I have been Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein just over six months now, and I am very pleased to say that on the economic and political level, the relationship between our two countries has never been stronger.

We are most successful when we work together.  All of you here today play important roles, and I would like to thank you all for being strong partners in our relationship with Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

And now, a more personal note.  Many of you know that while I grew up in New York, I have spent most of my adult life in South Carolina.  For this, my first Fourth of July celebration in Bern, I am excited to bring some of my favorite things from my home in the South to my home here in Switzerland, and to share them with all of you.

So, try the biscuits, try the barbeque, and try the bourbon! I encourage everyone to eat, drink, and enjoy the music and company as we celebrate Independence Day.  Thank you.