Swiss-U.S. Economic Relations


Swiss companies have traditionally been present in key markets abroad in order to expand beyond their limited domestic market. As a result, Switzerland has become an important player in international trade, advocating for trade-friendly policies and promoting an open and rule-based global trading system. It specializes in exporting high-quality goods and services and has one of the highest export rates as a percentage of GDP.

The U.S. is Switzerland’s second most important export market worldwide (after Germany). Exports to the U.S. have grown by an average of 10% annually over the last 10 years and continue to boom now. In 2016, goods exports reached a new peak at $37.7 billion and services exports amounted to $23.7 billion. On the other hand, the U.S. exports more products to Switzerland than to Scandinavia, the Baltic States and Austria combined, making Switzerland its 12th most important export market for goods. Furthermore, the U.S. services exports amount to $32.5 billion, making Switzerland the 7th most important export market for services, ahead of Mexico and Germany. The bilateral trade volume in goods and services between Switzerland and the U.S. reached a total of $110 billion.

Investment and Jobs

Although the country is less than 1% of U.S. territory in size, Switzerland is the 6th most important foreign investor in the U.S., with a cumulative amount of $310 billion. About 500 Swiss companies are active in the U.S. and create half a million jobs in all 50 states. Switzerland invests more in the U.S. than in Germany, France, Italy and the U.K. combined. Conversely, total U.S. business investments in Switzerland amount to about $300 billion, translating into over 85,000 Swiss jobs. More than 1,600 American companies already operate in Switzerland, from early-stage innovators to well-known multinationals.

But it is not only about quantity. It is foremost about quality. Swiss investments in the United States are first in terms of average salaries (roughly $100,000 per job). No other investor in the U.S. invests as much in research and development per workplace as Swiss companies. Swiss investments in the U.S. are not only beneficial to the U.S. They are equally important to the Swiss economy, creating and maintaining jobs in Switzerland as well. For our companies, America has long been and will continue to be a very attractive location to drive innovation and to produce high-quality goods.

A Joint Economic Commission, the Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum and the EFTA-U.S. Trade Policy Dialog help to strengthen and promote economic relations between the two countries.

Banking & Finance

The financial sector is a significant pillar of the Swiss economy, contributing approximately ten percent of Swiss GDP. Domestically, Switzerland’s deep and efficient capital markets have fostered a highly diversified and vibrant network of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Globally, Switzerland’s financial sector plays a crucial role in financial intermediation. The driving factors behind Switzerland’s preferred status as an international financial center are political stability as well as an efficient institutional and regulatory environment.