Swiss relations with Panama are good but not very intensive. Panama is one of Switzerland’s most important export destinations 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: investment protection, air traffic and visa exemption.
In 2017, Switzerland imported goods to the value of approximately CHF 142.4 million from Panama, mainly precious stones and metals and jewellery. Switzerland exported CHF 230.8 million worth of goods to Panama. These exports were mainly pharmaceutical products, watches, and precious stones and metals. The majority of these exports were re-exported in the region via the free-trade zone “Colón”.
In 2014 the free trade agreement came into force between EFTA and the Central American States, of which Panama is a member.
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 1006 Swiss citizens living in Panama at the end of 2017.
History of bilateral relations Switzerland
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.