Ignazio Cassis and his counterpart praised the strong relations between Switzerland and Canada. The COVID-19 crisis was a major topic of discussion. The two ministers summarised the situation with regard to the pandemic in their respective countries. They also touched on the current state of progress towards a vaccine and on ensuring supplies of such a vaccine. Both Switzerland and Canada, which is a member of the G7 and G20, hope to be able to rely on cooperation in international bodies in this regard.
During the visit to Bern, Mr Cassis and Mr Champagne also took the opportunity to review a wide range of other international issues. The discussions focused on the situation in Lebanon in the wake of the explosion that occurred in Beirut on 4 August, on the Middle East peace process and on Switzerland's and Canada's stance regarding the tensions surrounding the presidential elections in Belarus. The two delegations also discussed geopolitical matters relating to China, the United States, Iran, Venezuela, the European Union, the United Nations and the OSCE.
Close ties between Canada and Switzerland
This year, Switzerland and Canada are celebrating 75 years of diplomatic relations. The two countries have many shared interests and values, including federalism and multilingualism. Economic, interpersonal and cultural ties between the two countries are close. Canada is Switzerland's second-largest economic partner in the Americas. Last year, Switzerland exported goods worth CHF 4.4 billion to Canada. These exports were mainly composed of pharmaceutical products.
At the end of 2019, there were more than 40,000 Swiss citizens living in Canada. The two countries, which see themselves as natural partners in thought and action, intend to continue to intensify their bilateral political relations.
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