Known as the 'Switzerland of Central America' thanks to its political stability and the relative prosperity of its economy, Costa Rica has for many years enjoyed good diplomatic and trade relations with Switzerland.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Costa Rica
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Together with Costa Rica, Liechtenstein, Jordan and Singapore, Switzerland is part of the 'Small Five', a group at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York which advocates shared values and ideas, including an initiative to reform the Security Council and its working methods. Before joining the UN, Switzerland worked with Costa Rica to launch a number of initiatives aimed at improving international law such as the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture as well as an initiative relating to small arms and human security.
Costa Rica is Switzerland’s second biggest trading partner in Central America. In 2017, Switzerland imported CHF 109 million worth of goods, mostly agricultural products, from Costa Rica. Swiss exports to Costa Rica – mainly pharmaceutical products, optical and medical devices, and watches – amounted to CHF 180 million. At the end of 2016, direct investment from Switzerland in Costa Rica stood at CHF 798 million and Swiss companies employed about 1,700 people in the country.
A free trade agreement between EFTA and Costa Rica has been in force since 2014.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Researchers from Costa Rica can apply for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI).
In February 2014, Costa Rica and CERN signed an agreement to facilitate scientific cooperation and access to grants for students and researchers.
Swiss nationals in Costa Rica
There were 1,767 Swiss citizens living in Costa Rica at the end of 2017.
History of bilateral relations
An honorary consul was appointed by the Federal Council in 1912, and in 1957 the two countries initiated diplomatic relations, at which point Switzerland upgraded its representation to a consulate general. An embassy was opened in San José 10 years later. Costa Rica has maintained an embassy in Bern since 1981.