Bilateral relations Switzerland-Chile

Bilateral and multilateral relations between Switzerland and Chile are strong and have steadily grown and developed over the years. The two countries also have a good working relationship at multilateral level based on their shared values.

Key aspects of diplomatic relations

Political relations between Switzerland and Chile have become closer in recent years. Cooperation focuses on trade expansion, scientific collaboration between Swiss and Chilean institutions, and joint efforts in the areas of climate change and water management. The two countries also cooperate on energy with a view to increasing the proportion of renewables in the energy supply.

Switzerland and Chile have entered into a free trade agreement (EFTA–Chile FTA) and bilateral agreements on investment protection, double taxation, international mutual assistance in criminal matters, air transport and social security. 

Treaty database

Government of Chile

Economic cooperation

In 2023 Switzerland imported goods from Chile worth over CHF 640 million, mainly precious stones and precious metals (especially gold). Exports in the same period amounted to around CHF 335 million, consisting mainly of pharmaceutical products, machinery, precision instruments and watches. At the end of 2022, Swiss direct investments in Chile stood at over CHF 450 million. At the end of 2022, Swiss companies employed around 18,790 people in Chile. 

Information on countries, SECO  

Trade promotion Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE)

Chilean-Swiss Chamber of Commerce (es)

Cooperation in education, research and innovation

Researchers and artists who are citizens of Chile 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.

A trainee exchange agreement enables young people from Chile to acquire additional professional experience and hone their language skills in Switzerland.

The Swiss Polar Institute, an EPFL research entity, conducted the Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition (ACE) in March 2017 and is running a number of other research projects supported by Chile. 

Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships for Foreign Scholars and Artists (SERI)

Leading House Latin American, HSG

Swiss Polar Institute

Development cooperation and humanitarian aid

The global programmes undertaken by the SDC in the Andean region (climate change, protection of resources, water management) also include Chile. In order to capitalise on its knowledge base in Chile, Switzerland takes a South–South cooperation approach at regional level to such issues as urban air quality (CALAC+ project), sustainable forest management in the Andes (Bosques Andinos project) and private sector water management (Suizagua project).

Swiss Humanitarian Aid also assists Chile with disaster risk reduction and rapid responses to crises. 

SDC global programmes

Swiss nationals in Chile

According to statistics on the Swiss abroad, there were 5,730 Swiss citizens living in Chile at the end of 2023. There has been a Swiss school in the capital Santiago since 1939. Today it has around 640 pupils and enjoys an excellent reputation. 

History of bilateral relations

Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei Montalva, a descendant of Swiss immigrants, was elected president of Chile in 1964. His son, Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, was also president from 1994 to 2000. Today, an estimated 60,000 descendants of Swiss immigrants live in Chile.

Switzerland first opened an honorary consulate in Valparaíso in 1851 and another one in Santiago in 1918. The latter was upgraded to a consulate general in 1923, a legation in 1944 and an embassy in 1957.

Chile was a popular destination for emigrants from Switzerland in the 19th century. Swiss traders primarily settled in the port city of Valparaíso, while farmers and craftspeople headed to southern Chile. 

Chile, Historical Dictionary of Switzerland (de, fr, it)

Diplomatic Documents of Switzerland, Dodis