The United States established diplomatic relations with Switzerland in 1853 following the formation of a unified Swiss state. Switzerland is a democratic country subscribing to the fundamental ideals with which the United States also is identified. The country is politically stable with an essentially strong economy. It has played an increasingly important role in supporting the spread of democratic institutions and values worldwide, as well as providing humanitarian relief and economic development assistance. U.S. policy toward Switzerland takes these factors into account and seeks to cooperate with Switzerland to the extent consistent with Swiss neutrality.
The United States and Switzerland have signed a number of agreements creating mechanisms that deepen cooperation and improve the relationship: the Enhanced Political Cooperation Framework, the Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum, and the revised Operative Working Arrangement on Law Enforcement Cooperation on Counterterrorism. The centerpiece of the Enhanced Political Cooperation Framework is an annual senior-level meeting, the Joint Working Group. Another vehicle for bilateral cooperation is the U.S.-Swiss Joint Economic Commission, which covers anti-money laundering efforts, counterterrorism, regulatory cooperation, and intellectual property rights, among other topics.
U.S. Assistance to Switzerland
The United States provides no development assistance to Switzerland.
Bilateral Economic Relations
Switzerland is a member of the European Free Trade Association, whose countries are significant markets for U.S. exporters and investors. The two countries have a long history of cooperation both bilaterally and within the World Trade Organization. The United States is one of the top destinations for Swiss investment and is one of the largest foreign investors in Switzerland. The United States and Switzerland have signed an agreement creating a trade and investment forum to assess areas where the two governments could facilitate greater trade and investment flows.
U.S. exports to Switzerland include gold, pharmaceutical products, art and antiques, optic and medical instruments, machinery, and agricultural products. U.S. imports from Switzerland include pharmaceutical products, optic and medical instruments, clocks and watches, machinery, jewelry and diamonds, and agricultural products. Per capita, Switzerland is among the countries with the most visitors to the United States every year. Switzerland participates in the Visa Waiver Program, which allows nationals of participating countries to travel to the United States for certain business or tourism purposes for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa.
Switzerland’s Membership in International Organizations
Switzerland and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization. Switzerland is also a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) Partnership for Peace program and is an observer to the Organization of American States.