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Swiss watchmakers clock record exports in 2013

Swiss watchmakers saw their export growth slow down significantly last year, but they still clocked a new record high, the Swiss Watch Industry said on Thursday. Swiss watch exports edged up 1.9 percent in 2013 to a record 21.8 billion Swiss francs ($24.1 billion, 17.8 billion euros), after gaining 11 percent in 2012, the federation said in a statement. "Expected to be a year of consolidation at a high level, 2013 lived up to its promise," it said.

B.C. construction industry turns to Ireland to fill jobs: "crisis" looming

VANCOUVER - The current shortage of skilled tradespeople in Western Canada is so dire that the B.C. Construction Association is returning to Ireland this month to hire 600 people, said the group's vice-president. In fact, even if one-in-five students graduating from high school in B.C. during the next three years were to pursue a trade, there still wouldn't be enough workers to fill shortages in the province's construction industry, said Abigail Fulton.

Italian shoemakers struggle to step up exports

Italian shoemakers are struggling because of a decline in the domestic market and the difficulties faced by small firms in reaching lucrative export markets, an industry report showed on Wednesday. "The Italian market is not enough any more," Cleto Sagripanti, president of footwear association Assocalzaturifici, said as he presented the report. But the quantity of shoes exported has diminished by 6.2 percent after it had gone up by 15.2 percent in 2010 and by 3.4 percent in 2011.

Hermes buys control of Swiss luxury watchmaker

The watch subsidiary of French luxury group Hermes says it has bought control of a Swiss watchmaking firm, Joseph Erard Holding, boosting its strategy in making high-end timepieces. La Montre Hermes said in a statement it had raised its previous 32.5 percent stake it has held since September 2011 in the Swiss family-run firm to an unspecified level giving it a controlling majority share. "For Hermes, this operation is a natural part of a continuing effort to master the craft of watchmaking," the French group said.
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