Hong Kong is a very important trading partner for Switzerland. It has been a Special Administrative Region since 1 July 1997, the date of the handover to the People's Republic of China. Hong Kong therefore does not have an independent foreign policy.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Hong Kong
Key Aspects of Bilateral Relations
As Hong Kong does not have an independent foreign policy, China is Switzerland's main interlocutor.
Switzerland is represented in Hong Kong with a consulate general.
Hong Kong is a major gateway for Swiss exports to mainland China. In addition, the city is an important financial centre in which many Swiss banking institutions have been established since the 1960s.
Switzerland maintains regular dialogue on financial matters with Hong Kong. Furthermore, a free trade agreement between the EFTA countries, of which Switzerland is a member, and Hong Kong has been in force since 1 October 2012.
A Swiss Business Hub is also located in Hong Kong.
Swiss nationals in Hong Kong
At the end of 2018, there were 2,018 Swiss citizens living in Hong Kong.
History of Bilateral Relations
In the course of the 19th century, Hong Kong became one of Asia's most important trading centres. Switzerland's initial presence in Hong Kong dates back to 1842 with Theodor Jost, the first apostolic prefect on the island. At the beginning of the 20th century, Catholic and Protestant missionaries – in particular from the Basel Mission – and Swiss traders settled in the territory.
From 1842 (Treaty of Nanking) to 1997 (handover to China), Hong Kong was a British colony. Today Hong Kong is governed under the principle of 'one country, two systems', which was formulated by Deng Xiaoping in 1997 ahead of the handover to China.