Known as the 'Switzerland of Central America' thanks to its political stability and the relative prosperity of its economy, Costa Rica has for many years enjoyed good diplomatic and trade relations with Switzerland.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Costa Rica
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Together with Costa Rica, Switzerland is a member of the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency (ACT) Group based at the UN headquarters in New York, which advocates shared values and ideas, including an initiative to reform the Security Council and its working methods. Before Switzerland joined the UN, it developed together with Costa Rica various initiatives aimed at enhancing international law, including the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture and initiatives related to small arms and human security.
Costa Rica is Switzerland's most important trading partner in Central America. In 2020 Switzerland imported CHF 101 million worth of goods from Costa Rica, mainly agricultural products, while Switzerland exported goods to the value of CHF 200 million from Costa Rica – mainly pharmaceuticals, optical and medical devices, and watches. At the end of 2019, direct investment from Switzerland in Costa Rica amounted to just under CHF 1.3 billion, and Swiss companies employed around 2,547 people in the country.
EFTA and Central America (Costa Rica, Panama and Guatemala) have entered into a free trade agreement. Switzerland and Costa Rica also signed an air traffic agreement in early 2019.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Researchers in Costa Rica can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.
In February 2014, Costa Rica and CERN signed an agreement to facilitate scientific cooperation and access to grants for students and researchers.
In addition, the SNSF is funding an ETH Zurich project to identify the conditions required to establish a dual vocational education and training system in Costa Rica (by 2023).
Swiss nationals in Costa Rica
There were 1,654 Swiss citizens living in Costa Rica at the end of 2020.
History of bilateral relations
An honorary consul was appointed by the Federal Council in 1912, and in 1957 the two countries initiated diplomatic relations, at which point Switzerland upgraded its representation to a consulate general. An embassy was opened in San José 10 years later. Costa Rica has maintained an embassy in Bern since 1981.