Switzerland officially recognised the State of Kuwait in 1961. In 1966, a Swiss ambassador was accredited in Kuwait (based at that time in Beirut) and a Kuwaiti consulate was opened in Geneva, making 2016 an occasion for both countries to celebrate 50 years of diplomatic and consular relations. Switzerland is a very popular destination for Kuwaitis both for tourism and for study. Kuwait is a key export market for Swiss goods and services.
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Switzerland has long been popular with the citizens of Kuwait, both as a tourism resort and a place of study. The welcome extended to Kuwaiti tourists at the outbreak of the Gulf war in 1990, when they were allowed to extend their stay until the crisis was over, is one possible explanation for the quality of relations between the two countries.
Economic and development cooperation
Since the oil boom of the 1970s Kuwait has been a key destination for goods and services supplied by Swiss companies, whose know-how in industry and technology have in turn helped implement a number of major infrastructure projects in Kuwait.
Today Switzerland mainly exports watches, pharmaceutical products, jewellery and machinery to Kuwait. Switzerland is an important location for investment for Kuwait.
In 2000 two agreements on investment protection and double taxation came into force. In 2010 a bilateral air transport agreement dating from 1968 was updated. In 2014 a free trade agreement between EFTA and Gulf Cooperation Council states entered into effect and has been implemented by both sides since 2015.
During the visit of First Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah to Switzerland in August 2016 a memorandum of understanding on development cooperation and humanitarian aid is to be signed by both countries.
Swiss nationals in Kuwait
There are 104 Swiss nationals living in Kuwait (as at end 2015).
History of bilateral relations
Switzerland recognised the independence of Kuwait in 1961. In 1966 a Swiss ambassador was given cross accreditation in Kuwait for the first time. Kuwait opened a consulate in Geneva that same year, which was upgraded to a consulate general in 1967. Switzerland has had an embassy in Kuwait since 1975. The Kuwaiti embassy in Bern was opened in 2006.