Didier Burkhalter in Canada to explore ways to develop relations with the new government

Press release, 07.06.2016

On Thursday in Ottawa, Federal Councillor and Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), Didier Burkhalter, will meet the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stéphane Dion, as well as the Canadian Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Marie-Claude Bibeau. In doing so, Mr Burkhalter will explore the potential for developing bilateral relations between Switzerland and G7 and G20 member Canada. Mr Burkhalter’s visit relates to the implementation of priority two of the Foreign Policy Strategy 2016–19 adopted by the Federal Council, which focuses on the development of relations with global partners with a view to safeguarding Switzerland’s interests and resolving specific problems.

Switzerland and Canada have close economic, social and cultural ties. Canada was one of the most popular destinations for Swiss migrants in the 19th and 20th centuries. Some 40,000 Swiss live in Canada, while more than 150,000 Canadians are of Swiss extraction.

Canada is Switzerland’s second-largest economic partner in the Americas. In 2015, Swiss companies exported goods worth CHF 3.5 billion to Canada, while imports from Canada amounted to CHF 1 billion . Swiss and Canadian universities and research institutions also have numerous close links.

Political relations between Switzerland and Canada have, in comparison, been less intensive in recent years, the last visit by an FDFA head being that of Pierre Aubert in 1981. Mr Burkhalter wants to revitalise relations and boost political dialogue between the two countries. Sharing the same interests in many areas, Canada and Switzerland can be regarded as natural partners. In particular, they are kindred spirits when it comes to promoting world peace and security, within the context of the UN and in the field of development assistance.

Further information:

Bilateral relations Switzerland–Canada

Address for enquiries:

Information FDFA
Bundeshaus West
CH-3003 Bern
Tel.: +41 58 462 31 53
Fax: +41 58 464 90 47
E-Mail: info@eda.admin.ch


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs