Relations between Switzerland and Ecuador are good and expected to intensify with the entry into force of the free trade agreement between Ecuador and EFTA, which is scheduled for 2020.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Ecuador
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Political relations between Switzerland and Ecuador are relatively low-key. The most recent ministerial-level meeting took place in September 2017 when Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Amman received Minister of Foreign Trade Pablo Campana on an official visit to Bern.
The two countries have agreements on double taxation, air transport and mutual legal assistance. The free trade agreement between Ecuador and EFTA is scheduled to come into force in 2020.
Trade with Ecuador is relatively modest. In 2019, Switzerland imported goods worth CHF 313 million, a huge increase on the previous year (+323.7%) owing to increased gold imports. In the same year, Swiss exports to Ecuador were worth over CHF 100 million. Switzerland's leading exports to Ecuador are pharmaceuticals, chemicals and machinery.
In 2018, Swiss direct investments in Ecuador stood at almost CHF 410 million and Swiss companies there employed around 6,500 people.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Researchers from Ecuador can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships. Under a mandate conferred by SERI, the University of St Gallen is currently coordinating research cooperation initiatives between Switzerland and Latin America.
Swiss nationals in Ecuador
According to statistics on the Swiss abroad, there were 1,778 Swiss nationals living in Ecuador at the end of 2019.
History of bilateral relations
A Convention on Friendship, Establishment and Trade has existed between the two countries since 1888. Switzerland opened a consulate in Quito in 1938 and a diplomatic representation has been in place there since 1963. In 2017, the Swiss embassy in Quito was transformed into an “embassy with consular focus”.
Ecuador was a priority country for Swiss development cooperation from 1969 until 2009. This programme, which concentrated on poverty reduction, was phased out at the end of 2010 as Ecuador had by then become a middle-income country.