Poor in commodities but rich in a highly qualified workforce, Switzerland maintains intensive trade relations with the rest of the world.

Containers being loaded onto a ship
© FDFA, Presence Switzerland

Switzerland's economy is highly dependent on foreign trade. In 2012, total exports (goods and services) amounted to CHF 285.8 billion. Total imports, for their part, amounted to CHF 220.8 billion. Switzerland regularly runs a trade surplus.

The service sector (banks, insurance, tourism) accounts for a significant share of Switzerland's foreign trade: 29% of all exports and 20% of all imports.

Trade in goods

In 2012 Switzerland exported CHF 200.6 billion worth of goods. 57% of this amount involved exports to EU countries. Germany is Switzerland's main trading partner, with a 20% share of exported goods. Switzerland's most important export goods are chemical and pharmaceutical products (CHF 79 billion), watches (CHF 44 billion), and machinery (CHF 33.3 billion).

Of the goods worth CHF 176.8 billion imported in 2012, 75% came from EU countries. Germany alone delivered 31% of imported goods. The largest shares of imported goods were accounted for by the chemical and pharmaceutical industry (CHF 39.4 billion), the machine industry (CHF 29.4 billion), and the watch industry (CHF 19 billion).