Relations between Switzerland and Chile are good and have become progressively closer and more developed. The two countries cooperate successfully at the multilateral level on the basis of shared values.
Bilateral relations Switzerland-Chile
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Political relations between Switzerland and Chile have become closer in recent years. They have emphasised the expansion of economic relations, scientific cooperation between Swiss and Chilean institutions, and cooperation in the areas of climate change and water. The two countries also cooperate in the area of energy, with the goal of increasing the percentage of renewable energies in the energy supply.
Switzerland and Chile have agreements in the areas of trade (EFTA–Chile), investment protection, double taxation, mutual legal assistance, air transport and social security.
2019, Switzerland imported goods worth over CHF 740 million from Chile,
comprising mainly precious stones and metals (especially gold). Exports to
Chile in the same period amounted to about CHF 370 million, consisting mainly
of pharmaceutical products, machinery and precision instruments. At the end of
2018, Swiss direct investments in Chile stood at CHF 1.7 billion. In 2018, Swiss
companies employed approximately 17,900 people in Chile.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Researchers from Chile 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.
A trainee exchange agreement enables young people from Chile to acquire additional professional experience and hone their language skills in Switzerland.
The Swiss Polar Institute, a research centre of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), carried out the Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition (ACE) with support from Chile in 2017, as well as other research projects.
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
The Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC)'s global programmes in the Andean region (climate change, protection of resources, water management) also include Chile. In order to include Chilean expertise, Switzerland takes a South-South cooperation approach at the regional level to such issues as urban air quality (CALAC+ project), sustainable forest management in the Andes (Bosques Andinos project) and private-sector water management (Suizagua project).
Swiss Humanitarian Aid also supports Chile in disaster risk reduction and rapid response to crises.
Swiss nationals in Chile
According to statistics on the Swiss abroad, there were 5,500 Swiss citizens living in Chile at the end of 2019. In the capital Santiago there has been a Swiss school since 1939. It has around 640 pupils and enjoys an excellent reputation.
History of bilateral relations
A descendent of Swiss immigrants, the Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei, was elected president in 1964, and his son (with the same name) also served as president from 1994 to 2000.
Switzerland opened an honorary consulate in Valparaíso in 1851 and another in the capital city Santiago in 1918. The latter was upgraded in 1923 to a consulate general, in 1944 to a legation and in 1957 to an embassy.
Chile was a popular destination for emigrants from Switzerland in the 19th century. Swiss merchants settled in the port city of Valparaíso, while farmers and artisans settled further south.