World news story

The UK-Swiss relationship

The British Embassy in Berne works closely with HM government, businesses and citizens to grow the relationship between the United Kingdom and Switzerland.


The UK-Swiss relationship

Switzerland is a crucial market for UK goods and services. Bilateral trade between the UK and Switzerland is worth over £31.7 billion a year. The business links between Switzerland and the UK are extremely strong, with more than 150 flights per day linking the UK with Switzerland. Around 41,000 British nationals live in Switzerland, and hundreds of thousands of British tourists visit each year.

Switzerland is the UK’s 7th largest export market, its 3rd largest non-EU market, our 8th largest foreign direct investor and the 10th top destination for UK outward direct investment (according to the most recent ONS trade figures).

The benefits for UK businesses exporting to Switzerland are manifold. Switzerland’s purchasing power is amongst the world’s highest and it offers a stable, predictable and reliable business, legal and regulatory environment.

Switzerland is the most innovative country in the world – now for 8 consecutive years – with high spend on research and development (R&D) and technology. They are among our most important science and innovation partners, and we share a number of foreign policy priorities.

Switzerland was again the world’s most competitive economy according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index 2017-2018 and ranks No. 2 in the Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index.

The Swiss economy is largely based on a highly developed service sector (74% of GDP), which mostly focuses on financial services (10%), as well as a manufacturing industry (26%) specialising in high-tech, knowledge-based production. The Department for International Trade collaborates closely with Switzerland Global Enterprise.

The Swiss economy has performed well since the global financial crisis, growing by an average 1.7% between 2010 and 2016, with 2018 projected growth at 2.4%. Swiss core inflation remains low (0.8%), as does its unemployment rate (2.9% in March 2018).

Published 7 September 2018