Switzerland maintains good relations with Panama, focusing on the economic sector. Panama is Switzerland’s most important export destination in Central America. The country also attracts Swiss investors.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Panama
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
The Swiss embassy in San José (Costa Rica) is responsible for diplomatic relations with Panama. Switzerland has an honorary consulate general in Panama. Switzerland and Panama have agreements in several areas: free trade, investment protection, air traffic and visa exemption.
In 2019 Switzerland imported goods to the value of CHF 99.4 million from Panama, mainly precious stones, precious metals and jewellery. Swiss exports to Panama totalled CHF 233 million and primarily comprised pharmaceuticals, watches, precious stones and precious metals. Most of these exports were re-exported to the rest of the region via the Colón Free Trade Zone.
The free trade agreement between EFTA and the Central American States, including Panama, entered into force in 2014.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Researchers from Panama can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.
Swiss nationals in Panama
According to statistics on the Swiss abroad, there were 916 Swiss citizens living in Panama at the end of 2019.
History of bilateral relations
Switzerland recognised Panama immediately after the founding of the state in 1903, but the two countries did not establish diplomatic relations until 1941.
As early as 1884, Switzerland opened a consulate in Panama City. The consulate was closed in 1891, reopened in 1913, and upgraded to a consulate general in 1959. It became an embassy in 1980. Since 1995 the Swiss embassy in San José, Costa Rica, has been responsible for Switzerland’s diplomatic affairs in Panama.