Relations between Switzerland and the United States are excellent. They are based on close historical ties as well as economic, cultural and personal ties. The importance of the US for Switzerland's prosperity and security is high. The country is Switzerland's second largest trading partner worldwide, the most important destination for Swiss exports and direct investments abroad, and an important hub for education and research.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–United States of America
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
In 2021, the two countries established a strategic partnership dialogue, thus deepening the existing regular political dialogue and formalising it at a high political level. In addition, Switzerland and the US have concluded a large number of bilateral agreements ranging from finance and economic affairs to research, education and tax issues. This tightly woven network of cooperation and exchange is constantly reviewed to identify opportunities and strengthen bilateral ties.
From 1961 to 2015, Switzerland represented US interests in Cuba and from 1991 to 2015 Cuba's interests in the US. Since 1980, Switzerland has represented US interests in Iran.
The Swiss Parliament and US Congress maintain active contact through parliamentary friendship associations.
In 2021, Switzerland was the seventh largest foreign investor in the US, having invested a total of USD 315 billion. There has been an especially vigorous increase in trade between Switzerland and the US in recent years. In 2022, Switzerland imported goods worth CHF 37.5 billion from the US and exported goods worth CHF 62.4 billion, making the US the leading export destination for goods from Switzerland.
Some 500 Swiss companies operate in the US and are directly responsible for the creation of around 310,000 jobs. In 2019, there were almost 1,100 US companies operating in Switzerland, employing just under 100,000 people.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
The United States is a key partner in the technology sector. The Swissnex locations in Boston and San Francisco and a bilateral science agreement (2020) testify to the close cooperation between the two countries.
Researchers and artists with US citizenship may apply to the State Secretariat for Education Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships. A trainee exchange agreement also provides opportunities for young professionals.
Swiss nationals in the USA
Over 10% of Swiss nationals residing abroad live in the US. Some 460,000 Swiss nationals emigrated to the US between 1700 and 2018. At the end of 2022, there were 82,662 Swiss citizens domiciled in the country.
History of bilateral relations
Switzerland and the United States have enjoyed a relationship of friendship since the 19th century, founded on shared values in democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights. Switzerland opened its first consulates in Washington, D.C. and New York as early as 1822 and then, 60 years later in 1882, it opened its first legation outside Europe in Washington, D.C. The consulate general in Chicago was reopened in September 2019 (having been closed from 2014).