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New Zealand’s relationship with Switzerland is long-standing and friendly. The focus is on trade, consular affairs and investment possibilities for companies in both countries, which are committed to strengthening these relationships. 2013 marked 50 years of diplomatic relations and 40 years of a Swiss Ambassador being accredited to New Zealand.
Contact at the international level, in specialised agencies and organisations, is regular, and often aided by our respective roles as champions for small states. New Zealand and Switzerland see eye to eye on a range of multilateral issues such as environment, disarmament, UN reform and human rights. We value Switzerland’s perspective on international issues, and consider that in turn New Zealand can offer a unique insight into the Asia-Pacific region. In addition to our good working relationship across these international themes, Switzerland’s views – as a European country outside of the EU - are valuable to us.
High-level visits have, however, been infrequent. Mr Burkhalter’s visit to New Zealand in October 2013 was the first Ministerial visit since 2006 and the first ever by a Foreign Minister. Justice Minister Judith Collins visited Bern in January 20014 for talks with the Director of the Federal Office of Justice, Dr Martin Dumermuth.
New Zealand and Switzerland do not have a Working Holiday Agreement or a Social Security Agreement .
Land Area: 41,285 sq km
Population: 8 million (Dec 2012)
Capital City: Berne
Language: German (64%), French (19%), Italian (8%), Romansch (1%), others (8%)
Political system: Federal republic
National government: Federal Council (the executive or cabinet) of seven members elected individually for a four-year term by the two houses of parliament in joint session
National legislature: Bicameral Federal Assembly (parliament), comprising the 200-seat National Council and the 46-seat Council of States.
Last election: October 2011
Next election due: October 2015
Head of State: Federal President Didier Burkhalter
Head of Government: Federal President Didier Burkhalter
GDP: US$657 billion
Real GDP growth: 1.9%
Exports: US$325 billion
Imports: US$283 billion
Main exports: Machinery, chemicals, metals, watches, agricultural products
Current account balance: US$61 billion
NZ Exports (FOB): $80.2million
Main Exports: Sheep meat, perfumery, machinery
NZ Imports (CIF): $308.3 million
Main Imports: Pharmaceutical products, optical products, clocks/watches
The Safetravel website provides a travel advisory for travellers to Switzerland [external link].