Myanmar has had a civilian government since March 2011 that has initiated various reforms aimed at greater political and economic openness. Switzerland supports this political shift and has stepped up its development cooperation in Myanmar. It opened an embassy in Yangon in October 2012. Trade relations between the two countries began to intensify following the gradual opening up of the country.
Myanmar is in the midst of a far-reaching transformation. It was ruled by an authoritarian military government for almost 50 years before opening up to the rest of the world in 2010. The first elections in 20 years were held, and the opposition leader and Noble Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest. In 2011, the military government formally transferred its official functions to a civilian one. The changeover from military to civilian rule was completed in 2011, when former General U Thein Sein was sworn in as president.