Export and investment promotion

Switzerland provides effective support where needed to help Swiss companies with their international activities via the instruments of commercial diplomacy and export promotion.

As a trade-oriented, medium-sized economy, Switzerland is reliant on the open markets, legal certainty and predictability of a rules-based global economic system. In addition to the multilateral system, Switzerland concludes bilateral agreements – including free trade agreements, bilateral investment promotion and protection treaties and double taxation agreements – to enhance its access to foreign markets.

Switzerland's representations abroad are involved in negotiating and implementing these agreements. They can also advise and support individual Swiss companies in the context of export promotion and consular protection.

Free trade agreements

Free trade agreements (FTAs) are essentially intended to facilitate trade by reducing or eliminating trade barriers between two or more countries. Minimising customs tariffs is a central element of FTAs. Many of them also govern services, investments and public procurement and contain provisions on sustainability.

SECO maintains an up-to-date list of countries with which Switzerland has signed an FTA.

List of free trade agreements

Bilateral investment promotion and protection treaties

Bilateral investment promotion and protection treaties (BITs) promote investment by ensuring a certain degree of protection against non-commercial risks. These include state discrimination against investors from a partner country in favour of domestic investors, unlawful expropriation and unjustified impairment of payment and capital flows. 

To date, Switzerland has signed over 120 BITs with countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe. SECO maintains an up-to-date list of Switzerland's BITs with other countries.

List of bilateral investment promotion and protection treaties

Double taxation agreements

Double taxation agreements (DTAs) prevent natural persons and legal entities from being taxed twice by dividing taxation rights in respect of the various types of income and assets between the signatory states. They are thus vital to the promotion of international economic activity.

Switzerland currently has DTAs with over 100 countries and continues expanding its treaty network. The Federal Tax Administration maintains a data base with state-related tax information.

International tax law by country

Export promotion

Switzerland supports Swiss companies in developing their international business through the federally mandated export promoter Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE) as well as through its representations abroad.

S-GE's services are geared to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Its ExportHelp team is the first point of contact for administrative export-related issues of all kinds, but companies can also contact one of S-GE's country advisers directly.

The FDFA operates a network of Swiss Business Hubs in selected focus countries together with S-GE. These are integrated into embassies and consulates general and offer a wide range of services, including in-depth market analysis, business partner searches in target markets, and support for product approval. 

S-GE – Offices around the world

Even in countries without a Swiss Business Hub, Swiss embassies and  consulates general offer a selection of basic services comprising information, advice, referral, support for events and delegations, and consular protection. For more information on basic services, please see the tab «Services – Trade promotion for companies».

Promotion of Switzerland as a business location

On behalf of the federal government, Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE) informs potential foreign investors about Switzerland's specific strengths and operating conditions for business.

The Swiss Business Hubs are the first point of contact for foreign investors. Targeted communication is addressed to promising companies in industries such as robotics, artificial intelligence, advanced manufacturing, personalised health, and blockchain. 

Foreign investors in countries without a Swiss Business Hub can contact S-GE in Switzerland directly.

S-GE – Switzerland as a business location

Team Switzerland

The Swiss Embassy is part of Team Switzerland, fostering local networking and collaborative efforts between partners working to further the interests of Swiss businesses. These partners include the following: