Relations between Switzerland and Bangladesh are good but not wide-ranging, and focus mainly on development cooperation. Switzerland is committed to poverty reduction, local governance and disaster prevention in Bangladesh, particularly in relation to climate change.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Bangladesh
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Switzerland and Bangladesh established diplomatic relations in 1972. Bilateral relations are mainly focused on development cooperation, economic development in Bangladesh and trade.
Trade between Switzerland and Bangladesh has increased since the mid-1990s, supported by a series of economic agreements such as the investment promotion and protection agreement signed in 2000. The boom in the textiles and chemicals sectors in particular makes Bangladesh attractive for Swiss investors.
In 2018, Swiss exports to Bangladesh amounted to CHF 133.6 million and consisted mainly of machinery, chemical compounds and pharmaceutical products. Imports from Bangladesh – mainly textiles and clothing – amounted to CHF 18.7 million in 2018.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Researchers and artists from Bangladesh can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
The objectives of Switzerland's cooperation strategy in Bangladesh for the 2018–21 period are to promote better governance of the economy and revenues, as well as to contribute to good governance and the sustainable management of migration. Switzerland's development cooperation programmes and projects also cover disaster risk reduction (DRR) as Bangladesh is regularly devastated by floods, cyclones and droughts.
Since the end of August 2017, Swiss Humanitarian Aid has also been providing emergency aid for refugees from Myanmar in Bangladesh.
Swiss nationals in Bangladesh
According to statistics on the Swiss abroad, 79 Swiss nationals (including 47 dual nationals) were living in Bangladesh at the end of 2018.
History of bilateral relations
Since Bangladesh's independence in 1971 and the establishment of diplomatic relations with Switzerland in 1972, bilateral relations have been dominated by development cooperation. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), for example, has been working in the field since 1976, has signed a technical cooperation agreement with Bangladesh, and in 1981 set up a coordination office in the capital Dhaka.
Switzerland opened an embassy in Dhaka in 2005.