Enterprise Ireland's trade mission to Switzerland is being led by Research and Innovation Minister Sean Sherlock. The mission involves 65 companies all hoping to grow their export opportunities here. Over the next three days the group will meet Swiss companies and politicians and will go to networking events in the hopes of increasing exports to this country. Among the sectors represented - with some hoping to sign big deals - are pharmaceutical firms, medical devices, engineering, construction and financial services. Over 200 Irish businesses already do business in Switzerland. Today the party will visit CERN and Nestle, and later in the week it will host seminars on doing business in Switzerland.

Eddie Goodwin, Enterprise Ireland's manager for Germany, Switzerland and Austria, says that Switzerland is Ireland's fifth biggest export market and comes ahead of the likes of France and the Netherlands. He says the bigger than usual trade mission will visit three key Swiss cities - Geneva, Zurich and Basel - over the new few days aiming to drum up interest in Irish exporting firms. Mr Goodwin says that the two countries have strong business to business links in such areas as pharmaceuticals, medical devices, engineering and construction while we also sell a lot of IT services into the Swiss financial services companies. Naming success stories like Multihog, Steripack and Nualight, the Enterprise Ireland man says he is confident that tens of millions worth of deals will be finalised over the next few days. Admitting that Switzerland is not a cheap country in which to live or do business, Mr Goodwin says that when a company gets into the Swiss market it is potentially a very lucrative move for it.

*** MORNING BRIEFS - The World Bank has revised down its forecast for economic growth in the developing world this year - from 5.3% down to 4.8%. But the new report does predict that growth in these countries will accelerate in 2015. That would be the third consecutive year of growth below 5% for this group of countries. The Bank said that developing nations need to make economic reforms to promote growth. The organisation's president, Jim Yong Kim, said these growth rates are "far too modest to create the kind of jobs we need to improve the lives of the poorest 40%t." 

*** Google is spending $0.5 billion on a start-up that makes and launches satellites. The deal is aiming at improving the accuracy of its mapping service and eventually expand internet access around the world, it said. Skybox will give Google access to lots of new data to add to its extensive mass of personal information. The deal is the latest in many recent moves by Silicon Valley firms to look skywards for expansion.