Traditionally friendly, relations between Brazil and Switzerland were lifted to the highest level with the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding for the Establishment of a Strategic Partnership Plan, when of the visit to Brazil of the Swiss Minister of Foreign Affairs, Micheline Calmy-Rey (2008).
Partnerships in science, technology and innovation are an important part of the relations. In bilateral cooperation, projects stand out in areas such as neuroscience, health, energy and the environment – with perspectives for future cooperation in nanotechnology, information and communication technologies, renewable energies, human and social sciences.
In mid-2000, Switzerland established strategic relationships not only with Brazil, but also with Russia, India and China (“BRICS Strategy”). This interest was formalized during the visit of the Federal Counselor of Economic Affairs, Doris Leuthard, (2007), when the Joint Committee on Economic-Commercial Relations was created – which, since then, has met five times.
From 2007 to 2012, bilateral trade grew 35.3%, reaching 4.47 billion. Around 350 companies of Swiss origin operate in Brazil – some are present in the country for over 90 years. It is estimated that, together, these companies generate about 90 thousand direct jobs. Brazilian companies have installed their European headquarters there.
Chronology of Bilateral Relations
1818 – D. João VI authorizes one hundred Swiss families to settle as immigrants at Morro Queimado Farm, in Rio de Janeiro
1820 – With the arrival of new Swiss immigrants, the colony prospers and it turns into the village of Nova Friburgo”
1826 – Recognition of the independence of Brazil by the government of the Swiss Confederation
1855 – Designation of the first diplomatic representative of Brazil in Switzerland, José Francisco Guimarães, as Consul in Bern
1899/1900 – Baron of Rio Branco, in charge of the Brazilian defense in the arbitration of the Swiss Government on the territorial dispute with France over the issue of Amapá, resides in Bern
1907 – Designation of the first diplomatic representative of Switzerland in Brazil, Albert Gertsch, as Chargé d'Affaires
1948 – First air connection between Brazil and Switzerland, with Panair
1958 – Elevation of the Switzerland Legation in Rio de Janeiro to Embassy status
1959 – Elevation of the Brazilian Legation in Bern to Embassy status; the first Ambassador of Brazil in Switzerland, Afrânio de Mello Franco, is assigned.
1994 – First visit to Brazil of the President of the Swiss Confederation, Jean Pascal Delamuraz
1997 – First official visit of a Swiss Minister of Foreign Affairs to Brazil, Federal Counselor Flavio Cotti
1998 – First official visit of Brazilian Head of State to Bern, President Fernando Henrique Cardoso
2007 – Signature, in Brasília, by Foreign Minister Celso Amorim and by Federal Counselor Doris Leuthard, of Memorandum of Understanding creating the Joint Committee of Economic and Commercial Relations
2007 – Visit to Switzerland of Foreign Minister Celso Amorim
2008 – Visit to Brazil of the Federal Counselor for Foreign Affairs, Micheline Calmy-Rey
2010 – Meeting of Bilateral Political Consultations between the Secretary-General of Foreign Affairs, Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, and the State Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Confederation, Peter Maurer, in Bern
2016 – The President of the Swiss Confederation and Federal Councillor for Economic Affairs, Education and Research, Johann Schneider-Ammann, visits Brazil, when he is received in Brasilia by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Serra (August 4 to 7)