Nepal and Switzerland established diplomatic relations in November 1956. Official development cooperation from Switzerland to Nepal began in 1959. The Permanent Mission of Nepal to the United Nations and International Organizations based in Geneva is accredited as Embassy of Nepal to Switzerland. Switzerland opened its residential Embassy in Kathmandu in 2009.
Having similar geo-political situation as landlocked countries, Nepal attaches great importance to her relations with Switzerland, which are based on mutual respect, friendship and cooperation. Switzerland has been a consistent supporter of Nepal, and has extended her support to the democratic movements and peace process of Nepal.
High Level Meetings/Exchange of Visits:
- Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Mr. KP Sharma Oli visited Davos, Switzerland in January 2019 to attend the 49th World Economic Forum. The Prime Minister met with H.E. Mr. Alain Berset, Head of Federal Department of Home Affairs on 10 June 2019.
- Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Mr. K.P. Sharma Oli and Swiss President H.E. Mr. Alain Berset held a bilateral meeting in New York on 26 September 2018 on the sidelines of 73rd UN General Assembly.
- Hon. President Mrs. Bidya Devi Bhandari visited Switzerland in June 2017 to participate in the 106th International Labour Conference (ILC). The Summit focused on the theme of women in the world of work.
- Foreign Minister Mr. Prakash Sharan Mahat visited Geneva in February 2017 to participate in the 34th Session of the UN Human Rights Council. He also held bilateral meeting with the Swiss Foreign Minister Mr. Didier Bukhalter.
- Prime Minister Late Girija Prasad Koirala visited Geneva on 11 September 2000.
- Foreign Minister Mr. Ramesh Nath Pandey in March 2005, DPM and Foreign Minister Mr. K. P. Sharma Oli in June 2006, Foreign Minister Ms. Sahana Pradhan in 2007 and Foreign Minister Mr. UpendraYadav in 2008 visited Switzerland.
- Director General of Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation Mr. Manuel Sager visited Nepal in March 2019.
- State Secretary of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland Ms. Pascale Baeriswyl visited Nepal on 5-7 December 2017.
- Heidi Tagliavini, Deputy Secretary of State visited Kathmandu in April 2007 to support to the peace process of Nepal and to strengthen bilateral cooperation.
- Swiss President Mr. Arnold Keller visited to Nepal in November 1997.
Bilateral Consultation Mechanism:
The first meeting of Nepal-Switzerland Bilateral Consultation Mechanism (BCM) was held in Kathmandu on 30 May 2016. Similarly, the second meeting of the Nepal-Switzerland BCM was held in Bern on 14 June 2018. The two sides reviewed all aspects of bilateral relations and discussed the possibilities of enhancing cooperation in areas of trade, investment, tourism and consular cooperation.
Switzerland’s cooperation to Nepal dates back to the 1950s. Economic cooperation programme was initiated in 1956 with technical assistance scheme for cheese production in the eastern high hills. Since 1963 Nepal has been a priority country for Swiss development cooperation. The Swiss Government, through the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC), has been initiating various development projects in Nepal after being founded in 1961. The post-earthquake pledge from Switzerland was important for conducting reconstruction works. Switzerland has also helped Nepal’s fight against COVID-19 by providing medicines and test equipments.
Besides economic cooperation, the Swiss government offers technical assistance, since Nepal and Switzerland signed the Agreement on Technical Cooperation. Switzerland is also one of the contributors to the World Bank administered multi-donor trust fund in Nepal. Switzerland’s new development cooperation strategy for Nepal for the period 2018 to 2021 will focus on: 1) Consolidation of peace, conflict prevention and human rights, 2) Employment and economic development, and 3) Migration.
Trade and Investment:
Nepal-Switzerland trade relation has witnessed growth over the years. The balance of trade is highly unfavorable to Nepal. Major Nepali exports to Switzerland consist of tea, coffee, mate, spices, green tea, ginger, cinnamon, fenugreek, plants and parts of plants, sugar, dog or cat food, malt extracts, essential oils, hand knotted woolen carpets, ready-made garments, handicrafts, woolen goods, Nepalese paper and paper products, hides and silverware and jewelry.
Similarly, Nepal imports time pieces, pharmaceutical products, chemicals, construction material, transport equipment, machinery and parts, medical equipment, etc. from Switzerland. Nepal’s status of bilateral trade with Switzerland over the past few years is as follows:
|Year||Export (in US dollars)||Import (in US dollars)|
Source: TEPC, Nepal
In 2016, Nepal Swiss Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NSCCI) was established in Kathmandu with the view to creating a new platform to develop new trade opportunities that benefits both nations in terms of business, culture and social exchange of knowledge and ideas. Swiss–Nepali Society, a Switzerland based friendship society, is also active in Nepal in various social works and small-scale development works in Nepal.
On Investment, the Department of Industry data revealed that there is a total of60projects approved and total Swiss investment of Rs. 2.9 billion until 15 July 2020, which created 1,575 jobs.
Switzerland has been regularly providing scholarships and training facilities to Nepalese students and professionals.
Every year thousands of Swiss tourists come to Nepal for a lot of leisurely activities. The data below reveals the tourist incoming from Switzerland to Nepal:
|Year||Number of Tourists|
Europe and the Americas Division
Ministry of Foreign Affairs