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, where Switzerland has an honorary consulate general. Switzerland and Panama have concluded agreements in a number of areas including investment protection, aviation and visa exemption.
Economic liberalisation and favourable framework conditions make Panama an attractive country for Swiss investors. In 2016 Switzerland imported goods to the value of approximately CHF 100 million from Panama, mainly precious stones and metals and jewellery, agricultural products and art works. In that year Panama was the seventh biggest market in Latin America for Swiss exports (CHF 228.5 million), primarily pharmaceuticals, watches, precious stones and metals. It can be assumed that most of these exports did not stay in Panama but were re-exported to the region via the Colón Free Trade Zone. 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
Researchers and artists from Panama can apply to the State Secretariat for Education Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.
Swiss nationals in Panama
According to the Statistics on the Swiss Abroad, there were 961 Swiss citizens living in Panama at the end of 2016.
History of bilateral relations Switzerland
Switzerland recognised Panama immediately after the founding of the state in 1903. The two countries established diplomatic relations in 1941.
As early as 1884, Switzerland opened a consulate in Panama City, closing it in 1891, and reopening it in 1913. In 1959 the consulate was upgraded to a consulate general, and in 1980 it was transformed into an embassy. Since 1995 the Swiss embassy in San José, Costa Rica, has been responsible for Switzerland’s diplomatic affairs in Panama.