Relations between Colombia and Switzerland are close and wide-ranging, and involve regular political consultations and high-level meetings. Colombia is a priority country for Switzerland in the areas of economic cooperation, humanitarian aid and peacebuilding. Trade between the two countries is brisk.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Colombia
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Switzerland and Colombia work together closely in fields as diverse as the promotion of bilateral trade and economic development, culture, multilateral cooperation, humanitarian aid and peace promotion.
Switzerland and Colombia have concluded agreements on investment protection, free trade, double taxation, mutual legal assistance, air transport, scientific cooperation and the protection of cultural property.
In 2019, Switzerland imported goods to the value of CHF 338 million from Colombia, mainly precious stones, precious metals and agricultural products. Swiss exports to Colombia – mainly pharmaceutical and chemical products, machinery and precision instruments – amounted to CHF 568 million. Swiss direct investment in Colombia amounted to CHF 4.67 billion at the end of 2018 and Swiss companies in Colombia employed around 13,100 people.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) awards Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships to foreign researchers annually. Colombian researchers can submit their applications to ICETEX and COLFUTURO. Under a mandate conferred by SERI, the University of St Gallen is currently coordinating research cooperation initiatives between Switzerland and Latin America.
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
Colombia has been one of SECO's priority countries for economic cooperation and development since 2009. The programme aims to strengthen the competitiveness of the Colombian economy and promote sustainable growth. CHF 55 million has been earmarked as part of the 2017–20 Cooperation Strategy.
Since 2001, the Swiss Humanitarian Aid programme has focused on assisting and protecting the civilian population affected by the conflict. CHF 35 million has been budgeted for the years 2017 to 2020. Switzerland is also providing additional humanitarian funding to Colombia to assist with the Venezuelan migration crisis.
Colombia is part of the SDC's Andean programme on climate change adaptation and sustainable water management.
Peacebuilding and human security
Since 2002, Colombia has been a priority country for Swiss peace and human rights policy. The current programme, with an annual budget of approximately CHF 2 million, focuses on promoting human rights and supporting civil society peace initiatives, dealing with the past and transitional justice.
Many cultural events contribute to Switzerland's reputation in Colombia, as does the Swiss school Colegio Helvetia in Bogotá.
Swiss nationals in Colombia
According to statistics on the Swiss abroad, there were 2,464 Swiss citizens living in Colombia at the end of 2019.
History of bilateral relations
Switzerland has maintained consular and diplomatic relations with Colombia since the end of the 19th century. A treaty on friendship, residency and trade concluded with Colombia in 1908 enhanced the status of the Swiss community in the country. Switzerland opened a consulate in Bogotá in 1911, a legation in 1940 and an embassy in 1958. The Colombian-Swiss Chamber of Commerce was founded in Bogotá in 1974.