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Foreign Trade in Figures

The Swiss economy is extremely open to foreign trade, which represents 131% of the country’s GDP (World Bank – latest data available). According to official figures from the Federal Statistical Institute, in 2021, exports were led by chemical products (50.4% of the total), machines and electronics (12%), watches (8.6%), precision instruments (6.7%), metals (5.6%), and jewellery (4%). As per imports, chemical and pharmaceutical products were the main category (27.3%), followed by machines and electronics (16.3%), vehicles (8.8%), metals (8.1%), and textiles, clothing, shoes (6.2%).

At country level, the United States absorbed 18% of Swiss exports, thereby dethroning Germany (17%) as the top sales market for the first time since 1954. Other major destinations for the country’s exports were China (6%), Italy (6%), France (5.8%), and Spain (4.8%). Overall, Europe accounted for 71.2% of total exports. Germany (27.4% share), Italy (9.4%) and China (8.9%) remained Switzerland's three principal procurement markets in 2021, ahead of France (7.6%), the U.S. (6%), and Austria (4.5% - Federal Statistical Office data).

Switzerland has a structurally large trade surplus. Exports rely mostly on high-tech sectors, which are less dependent on the international economic situation than other industries. According to WTO data, in 2021, Switzerland's exports of goods amounted to USD 380.1 billion while imports stood at USD 324 billion (+19% and +11% compared to one year earlier, respectively). As with regard to services, Switzerland exported USD 134.7 billion (+19.3%), while it imported USD 142.3 billion (+25%). The country’s trade surplus was estimated at 11.9% of GDP in 2021 by the World Bank (was 6.4% one year earlier). According to preliminary figures from the Federal Customs Administration, in the first eleven months of 2022, Swiss exports totalled CHF 244.5 billion whereas imports stood at CHF 215.8 billion (in real terms).

 
Foreign Trade Values 20172018201920202021
Imports of Goods (million USD) 269,834279,528277,830291,981324,069
Exports of Goods (million USD) 299,603310,749313,934319,318380,194
Imports of Services (million USD) 103,250122,110122,240113,792142,347
Exports of Services (million USD) 120,236133,665129,365112,992134,785

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20172018201920202021
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 123.6124.4124.1122.2130.9
Trade Balance (million USD) 64,45572,51771,38863,482110,497
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 57,80470,98665,10144,25790,854
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -0.40.80.3-3.25.0
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -0.43.4-0.7-5.212.4
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 57.357.057.257.959.5
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 66.367.567.064.371.4

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20222023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) 6.03.04.23.84.7
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 5.73.94.94.54.5

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
Switzerland is a member of the following international economic organisations: IMF, European Free Trade Association (EFTA), ICC, Latin American Integration Association (LAIA) (observer), G-10, WTO, OECD, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates Switzerland click here. International organisation membership of Switzerland is also outlined here.
Free Trade Agreements
The complete and up-to-date list of Free Trade Agreements signed by Switzerland can be consulted here.
 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2022
United States 16.2%
Germany 13.3%
China 11.0%
Italy 6.4%
France 5.3%
See More Countries 47.7%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2022
Germany 19.7%
United States 10.7%
Italy 7.0%
France 6.5%
China 6.1%
See More Countries 50.1%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

401.1 bn USD of products exported in 2022
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought...Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 25.0%
Human blood; animal blood prepared for therapeutic...Human blood; animal blood prepared for therapeutic, prophylactic or diagnostic uses; antisera and other blood fractions and immunological products, whether or not modified or obtained by means of biotechnological processes; vaccines, toxins, cultures of micro-organisms (excl. yeasts) and similar products 12.5%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses "incl. those in the form of transdermal administration" or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 11.6%
Heterocyclic compounds with nitrogen hetero-atom[s...Heterocyclic compounds with nitrogen hetero-atom[s] only 4.4%
Wrist-watches, pocket-watches and other watches,...Wrist-watches, pocket-watches and other watches, incl. stop-watches (excl. of precious metal or of metal clad with precious metal) 3.9%
See More Products 42.6%
355.6 bn USD of products imported in 2022
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought...Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 27.7%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses "incl. those in the form of transdermal administration" or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 8.9%
Human blood; animal blood prepared for therapeutic...Human blood; animal blood prepared for therapeutic, prophylactic or diagnostic uses; antisera and other blood fractions and immunological products, whether or not modified or obtained by means of biotechnological processes; vaccines, toxins, cultures of micro-organisms (excl. yeasts) and similar products 4.6%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 3.1%
Electrical energyElectrical energy 2.6%
See More Products 53.1%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows.

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Actualitzacions: April 2023

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