Relations between Colombia and Switzerland are close and wide-ranging, and are strengthened by regular political consultations and high-level meetings. Colombia is a priority country for Switzerland in economic cooperation, humanitarian aid and peacebuilding. Trade between the two countries is brisk.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Colombia
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Relations between Switzerland and Colombia are close, spanning a wide range of areas including the promotion of bilateral trade, humanitarian aid, peacebuilding, economic development, and cultural and multilateral cooperation.
Switzerland and Colombia have concluded agreements on investment protection, free trade, double taxation, mutual legal assistance, air transport, scientific cooperation and the protection of cultural property.
In 2017, Switzerland imported CHF 485 million worth of goods from Colombia, mainly precious stones and precious metals and agricultural products. Swiss exports to Colombia – mainly pharmaceutical and chemical products, machinery and precision instruments – amounted to CHF 487 million. At the end of 2016, direct investment from Switzerland in Colombia amounted to CHF 927 million, and Swiss companies employed about 11,600 people in the country.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
A declaration of intent on the promotion of scientific cooperation was signed in March 2012. The Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) and its Colombian counterpart, 'Colciencias', promote collaboration between universities and other scientific institutions in both countries.
Researchers from Colombia can apply to SERI for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
Since 2001, the humanitarian aid programme has focused on assisting and protecting the civilian population affected by the conflict. CHF 35 million has been budgeted for the years 2017 to 2020.
Since 2009, Colombia has been one of SECO's priority countries for economic cooperation and development. The objective is to strengthen the competitiveness of the Colombian economy and promote sustainable growth. The cooperation strategy for 2017–2020 has allocated a budget CHF 55 million for Colombia.
Colombia is one of the beneficiaries of the SDC's programme for the Andean region, which focuses on climate change adaptation and the sustainable management of water resources.
Peace promotion and human security
Since 2002, Colombia has been a priority country for Swiss peace and human rights policy. The current programme focuses on promoting human rights and supporting civil society peace initiatives, dealing with the past and transitional justice. The annual budget is approximately CHF 2 million.
Switzerland's standing in Colombia has been further enhanced by a number of cultural events, as well as by the Swiss school 'Colegio Helvetia' in Bogotá.
Swiss nationals in Colombia
According to statistics on the Swiss Abroad, 2,427 Swiss nationals were living in Colombia at the end of 2017.
History of bilateral relations
Switzerland has maintained consular and diplomatic relations with Colombia since the end of the 19th century. The Convention on Friendship, Establishment and Trade concluded in 1908 helped to improve the situation of the Swiss community in Colombia. A Swiss consulate was opened in Bogotá in 1911. The consulate was upgraded to a legation in 1940 and an embassy in 1958. The Swiss-Colombian Chamber of Commerce, founded in 1974, is based in Bogotá.