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The Swiss Confederation was founded in 1291 as a defensive alliance among three cantons. In succeeding years, other localities joined the original three. The Swiss Confederation secured its independence from the Holy Roman Empire in 1499. A constitution of 1848, subsequently modified in 1874, replaced the confederation with a centralized federal government. Switzerland's sovereignty and neutrality have long been honored by the major European powers, and the country was not involved in either of the two world wars. The political and economic integration of Europe over the past half century, as well as Switzerland's role in many UN and international organizations, has strengthened Switzerland's ties with its neighbors. However, the country did not officially become a UN member until 2002. Switzerland remains active in many UN and international organizations but retains a strong commitment to neutrality.


Central Europe, east of France, north of Italy

Natural Resources

hydropower potential, timber, salt

Population - distribution

population distribution corresponds to elevation with the northern and western areas far more heavily populated; the higher Alps of the south limit settlement

German (or Swiss German) (official) 63%, French (official) 22.7%, Italian (official) 8.1%, English 4.9%, Portuguese 3.7%, Albanian 3%, Serbo-Croatian 2.4%, Spanish 2.2%, Romansch (official) 0.5%, other 7.1%
Zurich 1.246 million; BERN (capital) 358,000 (2015)
Conventional long form
Swiss Confederation
Conventional short form
Local long form
Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (German); Confederation Suisse (French); Confederazione Svizzera (Italian); Confederaziun Svizra (Romansh)
Local short form
Schweiz (German); Suisse (French); Svizzera (Italian); Svizra (Romansh)
federal republic (formally a confederation)
Geographic coordinates
46 55 N, 7 28 E
Time difference
UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Daylight saving time
+1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Switzerland, a country that espouses neutrality, is a prosperous and modern market economy with low unemployment, a highly skilled labor force, and a per capita GDP among the highest in the world. Switzerland's economy benefits from a highly developed service sector, led by financial services, and a manufacturing industry that specializes in high-technology, knowledge-based production. Its economic and political stability, transparent legal system, exceptional infrastructure, efficient capital markets, and low corporate tax rates also make Switzerland one of the world's most competitive economies.
External debt stocks
US$ 604,546,000
Total tax rate (% of commercial profits)
Real Interest Rate
Manufacturing, value added (% of GDP)
Current Account Balance
US$ 70,631,769,655
Labor Force, Total
Employment in Agriculture
Employment in Industry
Employment in Services
Unemployment Rate
Imports of goods and services
US$ 343,372,842,432
Exports of goods and services
US$ 421,947,125,306
Total Merchandise Trade
FDI, net inflows
US$ -17,717,098,083
Commercial Service Exports
US$ 112,334,155,325
grains, fruits, vegetables; meat, eggs, dairy products
machinery, chemicals, watches, textiles, precision instruments, tourism, banking, insurance, pharmaceuticals
machinery, chemicals, metals, watches, agricultural products
Germany 14.2%, US 10.6%, Hong Kong 8.7%, India 7.3%, China 6.9%, France 6.1%, Italy 5.4%, UK 4.8% (2015)
machinery, chemicals, vehicles, metals; agricultural products, textiles
Germany 20.7%, UK 12.8%, US 8.1%, Italy 7.8%, France 6.7%, China 5.1% (2015)
Country Risk Rating
The political and economic situation is very good. A quality business environment has a positive influence on corporate payment behavior. Corporate default probability is very low on average.
Business Climate Rating
The business environment is very good. Corporate financial information is available and reliable. Debt collection is efficient. Institutional quality is very good. Intercompany transactions run smoothly in environments rated A1.
  • Political, economic and social stability
  • Balanced public accounts
  • Limited sensitivity of exports to exchange rates/ high technology
  • Relatively low taxes
  • Low unemployment and diversified labor
  • High standard of living
  • External position largely as creditor
  • Heavy dependence on trading, financial services, and the presence of multinationals
  • Overvaluation of the Swiss franc
  • Uncertainty about the migratory policy and its impact on the relation with the EU
  • Low-productivity agriculture
  • High housing prices and household debt
  • Highly concentrated banking sector

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