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 2018, Switzerland imported CHF 462 million worth of goods from Colombia, mainly precious stones, precious metals and agricultural products. Swiss exports to Colombia – mainly pharmaceutical and chemical products, machinery and precision instruments – amounted to CHF 533 million. At the end of 2017, direct investment from Switzerland in Colombia amounted to just under CHF 1.2 billion, and Swiss companies employed about 12,100 people in the country.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships for research are available to foreign researchers each year. Colombian researchers can submit their applications for a scholarship to ICETEX and COLFUTURO.
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
Since 2001, the Swiss 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 budget allocated for 2017–20 amounts to CHF 55 million.
Colombia is also a beneficiary of the SDC's programme for the Andean region, which focuses on climate change, natural disasters and the sustainable management of water resources.
Peacebuilding and human security
Since 2002, Colombia has been a priority country for Swiss peace and human rights policy. The current programme, with an annual budget of approximately CHF 2 million, focuses on promoting human rights and supporting civil society peace initiatives, dealing with the past and transitional justice.
Switzerland's standing in Colombia has been enhanced by a number of cultural events, and by Colegio Helvetia, a Swiss school in Bogotá.
Swiss nationals in Colombia
According to statistics on the Swiss Abroad, 2,420 Swiss nationals were living in Colombia at the end of 2018.
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.