This landlocked country lies between the two great powers of China and Russia, has rich deposits of mineral resources and is of geopolitical interest. The volume of trade between the two countries is modest, although the number of Swiss tourists is on the increase.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Mongolia
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
In 2004, the SDC opened a coordination office in Ulaanbaatar. The Swiss Embassy is in Beijing.
Switzerland and Mongolia hold meetings every two years for political consultations. Mongolia aims to decentralise its political system and government administration and is being encouraged to do so by Switzerland.
Although since 1990 Mongolia's formerly socialist economy has been transformed into a market economy, economic and trade relations between Switzerland and Mongolia remain modest. Since 2009, trade relations have shown a slight increase.
While Swiss exports to Mongolia are generated by Switzerland's main export sectors, more than 90% of imports from Mongolia consist of raw materials. Mongolia is increasingly becoming a raw materials supplier of gold, copper, coal and uranium, and is investing in large mining projects.
Cooperation in the domain of education
Foreign scholars and artists from Mongolia can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
In 2001, Switzerland began its activities with relief efforts related to the "dzud" weather disaster in response to a joint appeal by the UN and the government of Mongolia. Since then, cooperation has gradually shifted from humanitarian aid to development cooperation programmes.
The focus of the Swiss development strategy is to secure and improve the livelihoods of herders. Support is also provided to herders who have given up their nomadic way of life and moved to the cities. The emphasis is on the sustainable use and rehabilitation of natural resources and on the promotion of the environmentally friendly social and economic development of the country.
Swiss nationals in Mongolia
At the end of 2011 there were 23 Swiss nationals living in Mongolia.
History of bilateral relations
Relations between Switzerland and Mongolia date back to the second half of the 1950s, when the first Swiss companies established trade relations. Switzerland was Mongolia’s first non-socialist trading partner. It officially recognised the Democratic Republic of Mongolia on 20 May 1964, although contacts between Bern and Ulaanbaatar remained modest until the end of the socialist era.
Since the democratisation of Mongolia from 1990 onwards, relations between the two countries have intensified. Switzerland offered humanitarian aid during the extremely harsh winters in the late 1990s, which was subsequently continued as development cooperation as from 2002.