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Bilateral relations between Switzerland and the Philippines
The two countries maintain good and long-established relations, which are characterised by regular political dialogue, extensive trade and ad hoc Humanitarian Aid operations after natural disasters.
Political dialogue takes place on a regular basis. Switzerland is cooperating closely with the Philippines on the return of illicit assets. In 2012, the two countries celebrated the 150th anniversary of the establishment official bilateral relations.
Although trade between the two countries is modest, the Philippines is Switzerland's sixth largest trading partner in South-East Asia. Switzerland mainly exports pharmaceutical products, machinery and watches and imports machinery and agricultural products. Some 60 Swiss companies employ approximately 15,000 local people in the Philippines.
A trainee agreement enables young people from the Philippines to spend a limited period of time in Switzerland in order to acquire additional professional experience and to hone their language skills.
Humanitarian Aid provides support with ad hoc deployments. In early December 2012, Typhoon Bopha claimed hundreds of lives and caused great devastation on the Philippine island of Mindanao. The SDC contributed 600,000 CHF to emergency relief efforts. When Tropical Storm Sendong destroyed much of the southern part of the country in 2011, the SDC dispatched six experts to the Philippines and contributed approximately CHF 300,000.
In 2012 there were 3140 Swiss nationals resident in the Philippines, of whom 1664 hold dual citizenship.
A number of cultural events were organised in 2012 to mark the 150th anniversary.
Close economic relations have developed between Switzerland and the Philippines since the middle of the 19th century, when the Philippines was still a colony of Spain. A Swiss consulate was opened in Manila in 1862 at the initiative of Glarus entrepreneur and National Council member Peter Jenny - the first Swiss consulate in Asia. In 1879 a number of Swiss insurance companies opened agencies in the Philippines. Before the Second World War, some 15 Swiss companies were active in the Philippines, mainly in international trade, the timber industry and plantations.
Switzerland officially recognised the Republic of the Philippines on 4 July 1946. The two countries established diplomatic relations in 1957.
Economic relations developed at a rapid pace during the following decades. In 1979 Switzerland was the fourth-largest foreign investor in the Philippines.
After the fall of President Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, the Federal Council froze the Marcos family holdings in Swiss banks. Legal proceedings over the frozen holdings were concluded in 2004 when the assets was paid out to the Philippine authorities.