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Foreign Trade in Figures

The Swiss economy is extremely open to foreign trade, which represents 115.9% of the country’s GDP (World Bank – latest data available). Exports of goods and services account for nearly two-thirds of 5the country’s GDP. In 2020, the main exports were gems (22.5%), pharmaceuticals (14.9%), blood (12.4%), and clocks and watches (3.6%), while imports were led by gems and precious metals (30.3%), pharmaceuticals (8.9%), blood (4.3%), motor cars (3.5%), and jewellery (2.7% - Comtrade data).

In 2020, Switzerland's main clients were the United States (23%), Germany (15.4%), China (5.5%), the United Kingdom (5.3%), and France (5.2%). Its main suppliers were Germany (19.5%), Italy (8.2%), the United States (7.2%), China (6.1%), and France (5.9% - Comtrade data). The European Union is Switzerland's largest trade partner, accounting for two-thirds of its total foreign trade. Since 2002, the country has signed agreements with the EU regarding seven key trade sectors. Most of Switzerland's trade agreements have been signed through EFTA, although Switzerland is allowed to conclude FTAs outside EFTA, as was the case with Japan and China.

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 2020, Switzerland's exports of goods amounted to USD 319.3 billion while imports stood at USD 292 billion (+1.7% and +5% compared to one year earlier, respectively). As with regard to services, Switzerland exported USD 113 billion (-12%), while it imported USD 113.8 billion (-6.9%). The country’s trade surplus was estimated at 8.8% of GDP in 2020 by the World Bank. According to preliminary figures from the Federal Customs Administration, in the first nine months of 2021, Swiss exports totalled CHF 182.6 billion whereas imports stood at CHF 147 billion.

 
Foreign Trade Values 20162017201820192020
Imports of Goods (million USD) 268,658269,834279,528277,830291,981
Exports of Goods (million USD) 303,221299,603310,749313,934319,318
Imports of Services (million USD) 95,207103,250122,110122,240113,792
Exports of Services (million USD) 114,356120,236133,665129,365112,992

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

Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 119.7119.3120.0119.2115.9
Trade Balance (million USD) 61,19163,82573,37675,54168,025
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 73,97171,36186,72684,34369,002
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 5.3-0.90.7-0.2-4.5
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 6.5-0.33.3-0.8-6.0
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 54.154.253.853.753.5
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 65.765.166.265.562.3

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20212022 (e)2023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) 6.34.33.94.84.0
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 5.03.84.64.64.7

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)
2021
United States 16.5%
Germany 14.5%
China 8.7%
India 8.3%
Italy 5.3%
See More Countries 46.6%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2021
Germany 19.3%
United Kingdom 11.2%
United States 7.5%
Italy 7.4%
China 6.1%
See More Countries 48.4%

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

 
 

Main Products

318.6 bn USD of products exported in 2020
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 22.5%
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) 14.9%
Human blood; animal blood prepared for therapeutic...Human blood; animal blood prepared for therapeutic, prophylactic or diagnostic uses; antisera and other blood fractions and modified immunological products, whether or not obtained by means of biotechnological processes; vaccines, toxins, cultures of micro-organisms (excl. yeasts) and similar products 12.4%
Heterocyclic compounds with nitrogen hetero-atom[s...Heterocyclic compounds with nitrogen hetero-atom[s] only 4.0%
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) 3.6%
See More Products 42.7%
290.4 bn USD of products imported in 2020
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 30.3%
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 modified immunological products, whether or not obtained by means of biotechnological processes; vaccines, toxins, cultures of micro-organisms (excl. yeasts) and similar products 4.3%
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) 3.5%
Articles of jewellery and parts thereof, of...Articles of jewellery and parts thereof, of precious metal or of metal clad with precious metal (excl. articles > 100 years old) 2.7%
See More Products 50.3%

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

 
 

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Actualitzacions: September 2022

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