Brazil is of strategic importance to Switzerland; bilateral relations are close and multifaceted. Political exchanges occur on a regular basis and the economic relations between the two countries are extensive.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Brazil
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Brazil is Switzerland's largest trading partner in Latin America and many Swiss companies have a base in the country. The Swiss and Brazilian governments concluded a strategic partnership in 2008, through which in-depth exchanges and cooperation take place in different areas. The two countries have concluded agreements in the areas of science, mutual legal assistance and justice, air traffic and social security. A double taxation agreement will also come into force on 1 January 2022.
In 2020 Switzerland imported goods worth nearly CHF 1.4 billion from Brazil, mainly precious metals and coffee. Swiss exports to Brazil amounted to CHF 2.1 billion and mainly comprised pharmaceuticals, chemicals and machinery. At the end of 2019 the volume of Swiss direct investment in Brazil stood at CHF 10.6 billion and Swiss companies employed about 61,000 people in the country.
The negotiations for the EFTA-Mercosur free trade agreement were largely completed in August 2019.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Brazil is also an important partner of Switzerland in the field of education, research and innovation. A number of bilateral research projects and instruments exist. Swissnex opened an office in Rio de Janeiro in 2014, in 2017 it opened a second in São Paulo. The innovation platform of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) connects researchers, institutions and companies from both countries.
Researchers who are citizens of Brazil can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships. Under a mandate conferred by SERI, the University of St Gallen is currently coordinating research cooperation initiatives between Switzerland and Latin America.
Swiss nationals in Brazil
At the end of 2020 there were 13,678 Swiss nationals living in Brazil, making it home to the second largest Swiss community in Latin America.
History of bilateral relations
Switzerland and Brazil established relations as early as the 19th century, when Swiss traders saw in Brazil a promising export market. In 1819, the first Swiss consulate overseas was opened in Rio de Janeiro. From the foundation of the city Nova Friburgo in 1818 until the mid-twentieth century, Brazil was a favourite destination for many Swiss emigrants. In 1907, Switzerland opened a diplomatic representation in Rio de Janeiro. This was transferred to the new capital Brasilia in 1972. In addition to the embassy, Switzerland has two consulates general, several honorary consulates and a Swiss Business Hub in Brazil. Switzerland also supports the two Swiss schools in São Paulo and Curitiba.