Brazil is a priority country of the Federal Council's foreign policy strategy. Bilateral relations are close and multifaceted: in addition to regular political exchanges and close economic ties, they also include the areas of education, research and innovation.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Brazil
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Brazil is Switzerland's largest trading partner in Latin America and many Swiss companies have a base in the country. In 2008, the Swiss and Brazilian governments concluded a strategic partnership geared towards extensive exchanges and deepened cooperation. For example, the two countries maintain dialogue in the areas of politics, economic affairs, science, taxation and finance, human rights and intellectual property.
Switzerland and Brazil have concluded agreements in the areas of double taxation, science, mutual legal assistance and justice, air transport and social security.
In 2022 Switzerland imported goods worth CHF 1.6 billion from Brazil, mainly precious metals and agricultural produce. Brazil is the most important destination for Swiss exports in Latin America: these amounted to around CHF 2.4 billion in 2022, mainly comprised of pharmaceutical and chemical products as well as machinery and precision instruments. At the end of 2021 the volume of Swiss direct investment in Brazil stood at CHF 7.7 billion and Swiss companies employed about 65,000 people in the country.
The negotiations for the EFTA-Mercosur free trade agreement were concluded in substance in August 2019.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Brazil is also an important partner of Switzerland in the field of education, research and innovation. A number of bilateral research projects and instruments exist. Swissnex opened an office in Rio de Janeiro in 2014, in 2017 it opened a second in São Paulo. The innovation platform of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) connects researchers, institutions and companies from both countries.
Researchers who are citizens of Brazil can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships. Under a mandate conferred by SERI, the University of St Gallen is currently coordinating research cooperation initiatives between Switzerland and Latin America.
Swiss nationals in Brazil
At the end of 2022 there were 13,574 Swiss nationals living in Brazil, making it home to the second largest Swiss community in Latin America.
History of bilateral relations
Switzerland and Brazil established relations as early as the 19th century, when Swiss traders saw in Brazil a promising 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 the embassy, Switzerland has two consulates general, several honorary consulates and a Swiss Business Hub in Brazil. Switzerland also supports the two Swiss schools in São Paulo and Curitiba.