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New Zealand’s relationship with Switzerland is long-standing and friendly. The focus is principally on trade, consular affairs and investment possibilities for companies in both countries, which are committed to strengthening these relationships. Contact at the international level, in specialised agencies and organisations, is very high, and often aided by our respective roles as champions for small states. New Zealand and Switzerland see eye to eye on a range of multilateral issues such as environment, disarmament, UN reform and human rights. We value Switzerland’s perspective on international issues, and consider that in turn New Zealand can offer a unique insight into the Asia-Pacific region.
In February 1972 the Swiss Government accredited its first resident Ambassador to Wellington. In 1973 the New Zealand Government reciprocated by accrediting the New Zealand Ambassador in Bonn (now Berlin) to Switzerland, and 2013 will mark 50 years of Diplomatic Relations.
Land Area: 41,286 sq km
Population: 7.7 million (2011)
Capital City: Berne
Language: German (64%), French (20%), Italian (6.5%), Romansch (1%), others 8.5%
Political system: Federal Republic, direct democracy
National government: Federal Council, consisting of seven members elected for a four year term by the Federal Assembly
National legislature: Bi-cameral Federal Assembly, consisting of the Council of States and National Council
Last election:October 2011
Next election due: Federal Assembly October 2015
Head of State: Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf (from 1 January 2012)
GDP: US$636.4 billion
Real GDP growth: 1.9 %
Exports: US$322 billion
Imports: US$317.5 billion
Main exports: Chemicals, machinery, watches, metals
Current account balance: US$74.1 billion
Unemployment: 3.1 %
NZ Exports (FOB): NZ$87 million
Main Exports: Sheep meat, venison, essential oils, medical instruments, machinery, pharmaceutical products
NZ Imports (CIF): NZ$366 million
Main Imports: Pharmaceuticals, medical instruments, turbo-jets or propellers, clocks/watches, precious steels/metals, electrical machinery.
The Safetravel website provides a travel advisory for travellers to Switzerland [external link].