Bilateral relations Switzerland–United States of America

The USA is a major partner for Switzerland in all respects. Relations between Switzerland and the United States of America are extremely diverse and enjoy a rich tradition. The number of Americans with Swiss origin is estimated to be around one million. The United States is the second largest export market for Switzerland and an important hub for education and research.

Key aspects of diplomatic relations

In 2006 both countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding which intensified bilateral relations and established regular high-level political dialogue as well as regular meetings of experts.

Switzerland and the United States of America maintain active contact at parliamentary level through two friendship associations of parliamentarians (in Switzerland: the “Swiss Parliamentary Association Switzerland-USA”; in the U.S.: "Friends of Switzerland Caucus".

Switzerland has been representing US interests in Cuba since 1961, and since 1991 the interests of Cuba in the USA. Since 1980 Switzerland has also represented US interests in Iran.

Treaty database 

Official website of the government of the United States of America

Economic cooperation

In 2014, Switzerland exported goods worth CHF 28.3 billion to the United States. The country is by far the most important destination for Swiss direct investment abroad which, between 2012 and 2013, amounted to CHF 204 billion or 17.6% of all its direct investment abroad. For the United States, Switzerland is an important destination for American direct investors. With direct investments of USD 129.8 billion it is also the third most important country of origin of foreign direct investments in Switzerland.

The dynamism of the American market attracts Swiss companies, and more than 550 Swiss companies have established themselves in the US, employing approximately 387,000 people in 2013.

A Joint Economic Commission and the Trade and Investment Promotion Forum help to strengthen and promote trade relations between the two countries.

Swiss Business Hub

Trade promotion (Switzerland Global Enterprise)

Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce in Zurich

State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) / Country profile

Protective power mandate

Cooperation in education, research and innovation

The United States of America is a top-priority partner in the fields of tertiary education, science, and cultural affairs. Thanks to its leading research and development infrastructure, the US also has a significant influence on the field of technology in Switzerland. The activities of Swissnex, which operates two Swiss Knowledge Network Outposts in Boston and San Francisco, testify to the intensive cooperation in this sector. Cooperation in the area of education and research was further strengthened by the signing of the Swiss-US bilateral agreement on scientific and technological cooperation in 2009.

Scholars and artists from the USA can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.Thanks to what are known as trainee agreements young American professionals have the possibility live and work in Switzerland to broaden their professional and language skills.

SERI: Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships for Foreign Scholars and Artists

Swissnex: Swiss science centre in Boston and in San Francisco

Trainee agreement

Swiss nationals in the USA

About 10% of the total of the Swiss Abroad live in the United States. Between 1700 and 2014, about 460,000 Swiss citizens emigrated to the US; in 2014, 78,696 Swiss citizens were resident in the USA.

History of bilateral relations

Since the 19th century shared values such as democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights have provided the basis for a relationship of friendship between Switzerland and the USA. In 1822, Switzerland opened its first consulates in Washington and in New York, and 60 years later, in 1882, the opening of the Swiss Embassy in Washington marked Switzerland’s first embassy outside Europe.

Historical Dictionary of Switzerland: United States of America (de, fr, it)