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Bilateral relations Switzerland–Panama

Switzerland and Panama enjoy good relations that are mainly focused on trade. Panama is the leading destination in Central America for Swiss foreign direct investment.

Key aspects of diplomatic relations

The Swiss embassy in San José (Costa Rica) is responsible for diplomatic relations with Panama. Switzerland has an honorary consulate general in Panama. Switzerland and Panama have agreements in several areas: free trade, investment protection, air traffic and visa exemption.

Treaty database

Government of Panama (en, es)

Economic cooperation

In 2020, Switzerland imported CHF 45.7 million in goods from Panama – mainly precious stones, precious metals and jewellery. It exported goods to the value of CHF 194 million to Panama – primarily pharmaceuticals, watches, precious stones and precious metals. Most of these products were re-exported to the rest of the region via Panama's Colón Free Trade Zone. At the end of 2019, direct investment from Switzerland in Panama amounted to just under CHF 3.3 billion, and Swiss companies employed around 2,347 people in the country.

The free trade agreement between EFTA and the Central American States, including Panama, came into force in 2014.  

Trade promotion, Switzerland Global Enterprise SGE

Cooperation in education, research and innovation

Researchers from Panama can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.

Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships for Foreign Scholars and Artists, SERI

Swiss nationals in Panama

According to statistics on the Swiss abroad, there were 877 Swiss nationals living in Panama at the end of 2020.

History of bilateral relations

Switzerland recognised Panama immediately after the founding of the state in 1903, but the two countries did not establish diplomatic relations until 1941.

As early as 1884, Switzerland opened a consulate in Panama City. The consulate was closed in 1891, reopened in 1913, and upgraded to a consulate general in 1959. It became an embassy in 1980.  Since 1995 the Swiss embassy in San José, Costa Rica, has been responsible for Switzerland’s diplomatic affairs in Panama.

Panama, Historical Dictionary of Switzerland (de, fr, it)

Diplomatic Documents of Switzerland, Dodis

Last update 26.01.2022


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