Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, the head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), received the Chilean Foreign Minister Antonia Urrejola Noguera today in Murten, canton of Fribourg, for an official working visit. The discussions focused on bilateral relations, particularly economic relations, as well as cooperation in environmental, multilateral and other matters.
“Swiss–Chilean relations are shaped by a long-standing friendship and many shared values,” Mr Cassis said as he welcomed his counterpart to Murten (FR), also evoking his visit to Chile in April 2019.
During the talks, Mr Cassis stressed the fact that economic and trade relations between Switzerland and Chile have grown stronger in recent years. Over 200 Swiss companies are active in Chile, employing some 18000 people there. In 2022, trade between the two countries reached CHF 1.2 billion.
Environmental and multilateral cooperation
The two ministers also touched on cooperation between the two countries in other matters, including the environment. Mr Cassis noted that the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) of the FDFA has been active in Chile for two decades through programmes in the areas of water, air pollution and climate change. The joint declaration signed in March 2022 on carbon offsetting is intended to deepen this cooperation.
The head of the FDFA and the Chilean minister also discussed various current international affairs, including the war in Ukraine. Multilateral cooperation was on the agenda as well. Mr Cassis underscored Chile’s importance to Switzerland as a human rights partner, both at the Human Rights Council in Geneva and in the General Assembly in New York.
Finally, the two counterparts highlighted the merits of science diplomacy and technological innovation, emphasising in particular the role of the foundation Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator (GESDA). Both Chile and Switzerland intend to further develop their cooperation in this area in the coming years.