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Bilateral relations between Switzerland and Ecuador
Relations between Switzerland and Ecuador are good, although of low intensity. The Swiss development cooperation programme was terminated in 2010.
Political relations between Switzerland and Ecuador are relatively modest. The most recent ministerial level meeting took place in 2011 when Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Amman received Ecuador’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ricardo Patiño on an official visit to Switzerland.
The two countries have agreements in the areas of investment protection, double taxation, air transport and mutual legal assistance.
Trade with Ecuador is relatively modest. In 2011, Switzerland imported goods worth CHF 84.5 million, mainly agricultural products, while exports to Ecuador, mainly chemicals, machinery, precision instruments and watches, showed steady growth amounting to CHF 117.7 million in 2011.
In total, Swiss direct investments amounted to CHF 306 million. Swiss firms employed 5500 persons.
Scholars and artists from Ecuador can apply to the State Secretariat for Education and Research (SER) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.
At the beginning of 2012, there were 1640 Swiss citizens living in Ecuador.
Since 2004 when Quito was chosen as the cultural capital of Latin America, the international cultural presence in the country has increased 10-fold. It is against this background that the Swiss Embassy in Quito founded the “Circulo Cultural de Suiza”, which organises cultural events on a regular basis.
A Convention on Friendship, Establishment and Trade has existed between the two countries since 1888. In response to the growing size of the Swiss colony and the threat to Swiss trading interests from import substitution, Switzerland opened a Consulate in Quito in 1938. A diplomatic representation was opened in 1963, which since 1991 has been headed by an Ambassador.
Between 1969 and 2009, Ecuador was a priority country for Swiss development cooperation. This programme, devoted to poverty reduction, was terminated at the end of 2010, Ecuador having in the meantime become a medium-income country.