Switzerland and Brazil maintain close and varied bilateral relations. They hold regular political exchanges and have strong business ties.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Brazil
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
For Switzerland, Brazil is strategically important. It is Switzerland’s biggest trading partner in Latin America and hosts numerous Swiss companies. In 2008, the Swiss and Brazilian governments concluded an agreement on strategic partnership for greater cooperation in a number of areas. They have also concluded bilateral agreements on the sciences, legal assistance and the judiciary, tax information exchange, aviation and social security. In addition, Brazil is home to the second-largest Swiss community in Latin America.
Brazil is Switzerland’s biggest trading partner in Latin America. In 2016 Switzerland imported CHF 1.22 billion worth of goods, mainly metals and coffee, and exported CHF 1.91 billion worth, primarily pharmaceuticals, chemical products and machinery. At the end of 2015, Swiss investments in Brazil stood at CHF 9.3 billion, and Swiss companies employed around 68,000 people in the country.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Brazil is also one of Switzerland’s key partners in the area of education, research and innovation. The two countries share a number of bilateral research instruments and projects. In 2014 a Swissnex office was opened in Rio de Janeiro. This innovation platform of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) liaises between researchers, institutions and companies in the two countries.
Scholars and artists from Brazil can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for a Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship.
Swiss nationals in Brazil
At the end of 2016, there were some 15,300 Swiss nationals living in Brazil.
History of bilateral relations
Relations between Switzerland and Brazil date back to the early 19th century, when Swiss businessmen discovered Brazil as a market for their goods. The first Swiss overseas consulate was opened in Rio de Janeiro in 1819. Many Swiss migrants headed for Brazil from 1817, when the town of Nova Friburgo was founded, until the middle of the 20th century. Switzerland opened its diplomatic mission in Rio de Janeiro in 1907. This was moved to Brasilia, the new capital, in 1972. Besides its embassy, Switzerland also operates two consulates-general, a number of honorary consulates and a "Swiss Business Hub" in Brazil. It also supports the two Swiss schools in São Paulo and Curitiba.