Panama is one of Switzerland’s most important export destinations in Central America, and attractive to Swiss investors.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Panama
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
The Swiss embassy in San José (Costa Rica) is responsible for diplomatic relations with Panama. Switzerland has an honorary consulate general in Panama. Switzerland and Panama have agreements on investment protection, air traffic and visa exemption.
Panama's economic openness and favourable framework conditions make it an interesting country for Swiss investors. In terms of exports Panama ranked as the 8th largest market for Swiss products in Latin America in 2015, amounting to CHF 216 million. These exports were mainly pharmaceutical products, watches, and precious stones and metals. It can be assumed that most of these exports were re-exported to the region’s free trade area in Colón. In 2014 the free trade agreement came into force between EFTA and the Central American States, of which Panama is a member.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Scholars and artists from Panama can apply for scholarships to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) and for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.
Swiss nationals in Panama
There were 890 Swiss citizens living in Panama at the end of 2015.
History of bilateral relations Switzerland
Switzerland recognised Panama immediately after the founding of the state in 1903. Diplomatic relations were initiated in 1941.
As early as 1884, Switzerland opened a Consulate in Panama City, closing it in 1891 only to reopen it in 1913. In 1959 the Consulate was upgraded to a Consulate General, and in 1980 an Embassy was opened. As of 1995 the Swiss Embassy in San José, Costa Rica, looks after Switzerland’s diplomatic affairs in Panama.