Content - Switzerland and Japan

Economic Relations

Japan, as the world's third largest economy after the United States and China, is one of the major foreign markets for the Swiss economy, and represents the 4th largest export market for Switzerland (after EU, US and China). Swiss exports to Japan increased by 6.1% to 6,485 million CHF in 2012, after falling 2.9% in 2011 . The volume of Swiss imports from Japan was valued at 3,790 million CHF.
Due to the combination of failng exports and rising (energy) imports, Japan posted trade deficit in 2011 for the first time since 1980. The Japanese trade deficit has expanded to 6.93 trillion JPY in 2012.

Swiss Trade with Japan

The most important Swiss export products to Japan are pharmaceutical products (41.1% of total exports), watches (15.6%), chemicals (8.7%), medical devices (8.3%), and machinery (6.9%). Main groups of products imported by Switzerland from Japan are vehicles (22.6% of total exports), precious metals (18%), pharmaceutical products (15%), and machinery (11.8%).

Trade in services between Switzerland and Japan is also substantial. Swiss service providers are active on the Japanese market inter alia in the areas of financial and engineering services, tourism and commodities trading.  

Major Investments

Switzerland is a major investor in Japan. According to statistics from S-GE, the capital stock of Swiss direct investments in Japan amounted to CHF 14.8 billion francs at the end of 2008, which corresponds to 1.8 % of all Swiss direct investments abroad.  

The staff employed by Swiss owned companies in Japan almost doubled between 2003 and 2008 to about 64,000. With 4.5 % of the total stock of foreign direct investment from OECD countries, Switzerland is ranked 6th among foreign investors in Japan (2008).  

Notable Swiss firms in Japan are ABB, Adecco, Clariant, CARAN d’Ache, Credit Suisse, Hilti (Liechtenstein), Kuoni, Lonza, Nestlé, Roche, DKSH, Novartis, Rolex, Schindler, SGS, Swiss Re, Syngenta, UBS and Zurich Insurance Company.  

Long Relations

Switzerland sent its first trade delegation to Japan in 1863. It was headed by Aimé Humbert, a representative of the Swiss watch industry. This visit led to the conclusion of a trade and friendship treaty between the two countries in 1864.  

An agreement on free trade and economic partnership between the two countries came into effect on September 1, 2009. All details can be found here.

Detailed information on the recent economic relations between Switzerland and Japan can be found here.

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