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 Swiss Federal Government and the Japanese Shogun in 1864. For more detailed information, please refer to the page below:
Grand Tour of Switzerland in Japan – Aimé Humbert-Droz (1819-1900)
Agreement on Free Trade and Economic Partnership between Switzerland and Japan (FTEPA)
The FTEPA, which came into force on September 1, 2009, establishes a comprehensive economic partnership between Japan and Switzerland (as well as Liechtenstein). It contains substantive provisions on trade in goods referring to the liberalization of trade in industrial products as well as selected processed and basic agricultural products, rules of origin, custom procedures, trade facilitations and provisions relating to non-tariff barriers. Other provisions relate to the trade in services, the movement of natural persons for business purposes, the establishment and protection of investments, the protection of intellectual property, the promotion and facilitation of electronic commerce, provisions in the field of competition and the promotion of a closer economic relationship.Full FTEPA legal framework
Bilateral Japan-Switzerland trade
For Switzerland, Japan is the second most important export market in Asia (3.1% of total conjonctural exports in 2020), a major investment location (rank 6 among foreign investors) and a weighty “like-minded” partner.
In 2020, Japan remained Switzerland’s fourth largest trading partner (after the EU counted as one, the US and China), accounting for 2.6% of Switzerland’s total conjonctural merchandise trade and a value of 10.6 billion CHF. Due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Swiss merchandise exports to Japan dropped by 13.9% in 2020 to 6.9 billion CHF, while imports grew by 9.9% to 3.6 billion, thus generating a clear trade surplus of 3.2 billion CHF for Switzerland.
In 2021, while the adjustment of the bilateral free trade agreement is in the forefront, an agenda is yet to be fixed. In the area of science, technology and innovation, the establishment of a new Swissnex office in Osaka from August 2021 symbolizes the dynamization of the two countries’ relationships.
Find more details in the Embassy of Switzerland in Japan’s July 2021 “Wirtschaftsbericht Japan 2021” report (in German), which contains a more detailed breakdown of the figures above:
Additional information about Switzerland & Japan
CUSTOMS & CULTURE
• Japan: The Government of Japan – About Japan
• Switzerland: Presence Switzerland (PRS) – Discover Switzerland
• Japan: JETRO – Communicating with Japanese in Business
• Switzerland: Swissinfo.ch – How to fit in at a Swiss workplace
DOMESTIC MARKET TRENDS
• Japan: JETRO – Reports and Statistics
• Switzerland: State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) – Economic forecasts