Brazil is of strategic importance to Switzerland and bilateral relations are close and multifaceted. Political talks occur on a regular basis and trade is intense.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Brazil
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Brazil is Switzerland's largest trading partner in Latin America, which explains why many Swiss companies have a base in the country. The Swiss and Brazilian governments concluded a strategic partnership in 2008, through which extensive cooperation takes place in different areas. Switzerland and Brazil have concluded agreements in the areas of science, mutual legal assistance and justice, exchange of information in tax matters, air traffic and social security. Brazil is also home to the second largest Swiss community in Latin America.
In 2018, Switzerland imported goods worth CHF 1.7 billion from Brazil, mainly metals and coffee. Swiss exports to Brazil amounted to CHF 2.6 billion, mainly pharmaceuticals, chemicals and machinery. At the end of 2017, the volume of Swiss investments in Brazil stood at CHF 10.6 billion and Swiss companies employed over 65,000 people.
The negotiations for an EFTA free trade agreement with Mercosul are well advanced.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Brazil is also an important partner of Switzerland in the fields of education, research and innovation. A number of bilateral research projects and instruments exist. In 2014, a Swissnex office opened in Rio de Janeiro, while 2017 a second one opened in Sao Paulo. The innovation platform of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) connects researchers, institutions and companies from both countries.
Researchers and artists in Brazil can apply to SERI for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.
Swiss nationals in Brazil
At the end of 2018, there were almost 14,000 Swiss citizens living in Brazil.
History of bilateral relations
Switzerland and Brazil established relations as early as the 19th century, when Swiss traders discovered Brazil to be an interesting export market. In 1819, the first Swiss consulate overseas was opened in Rio de Janeiro. From the foundation of the city Nova Friburgo in 1818 until the mid-twentieth century, Brazil was a favourite destination for many Swiss emigrants. In 1907, Switzerland opened a diplomatic representation in Rio de Janeiro. This was transferred to the new capital Brasilia in 1972. In addition to an embassy, Switzerland has two consulates general, several honorary consulates and a Swiss Business Hub in Brazil. It also manages the two Swiss schools located in São Paulo and Curitiba.