Commodity trading in Geneva

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Cocoa, sugar, grains … what do these products have in common? Most of these goods are traded and transported. Have you ever seen a cocoa tree in Switzerland?

International trade’s role is to coordinate the worldwide transfer of products to the place of consumption.

How does it work in reality?

Firstly, a contract between a trader and a producer has to take place.

The trader will choose the best product quality for the consumer and their company. Based on market demand, she will participate in developing projects such as improving the quality of a plantation and investing in infrastructure.

Moreover, the trader is responsible for organising the storage, transportation, and product quality, and has to take into account of price changes and exchange rates.


Commodity trading in Geneva

Switzerland has a long and varied history regarding commodity trading. In the 19th century, famous families, such as Nestlé and the Volkart brothers, helped the country to be a global center of trade in the 20th century.

Furthermore, Switzerland had a proliferation of banks with the essential component for commodity trading; expertise in trade finance.


A big hub

Today, Switzerland is the world’s most important trading hub, and still growing in importance. In 2006, for example, the region of Geneva had 350 commodity trading companies and this number has increased to over 500 today.

In Geneva, the principal sector is trading and trade finance. The trading companies are supported by a range of specialist companies such as commodity trading, shipping and finance, logistics, distribution, inspection, certification, insurance, services and training.

With more than 8,000 people working for these firms, Geneva is a strategic location connected with the rest of the world; China can be traded with in the morning and the United States in the afternoon. Known for its diplomacy and international co-operation, Geneva also benefits from quality infrastructure and a skilled English-speaking workforce.

Furthermore, commodity trading companies are a large fiscal contributor to the city’s public finances by providing 22 percent of the canton’s tax receipts.

Commodities traded in Switzerland:



Photo credit: 12019 via

Arjeta Dervisi

Arjeta Dervisi

I have seven years’ experience in commodity trading with a Geneva-based international company working in both French and English, and hold an Operator's Certificate in trading. I meet the needs of the people I work with through strong collaboration and communication skills, as well as organisational excellence. I have a proven record of seeing projects succeed by setting correct priorities and achieving my goals.


  1. Jean-Jacques Duquesne

    Thank you for your interesting article which let me to know more about the role of a trader. Actually I didn’t remember that she is also involved in projects to improve the quality of a plantation and infrastructure. In fact I remember an ad in the ’80s of Jacques Fabre coffee aka “El Gringo” spending hours controlling the quality of coffee bags under a blazing sun (

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