Strengthening Swiss–Canada ties: visit by Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis

Bern, 16.09.2023 - On 18 September 2023, Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis will meet the Canadian foreign minister Mélanie Joly in Ottawa for bilateral talks. The intensification of bilateral relations in business, research, the environment and human rights will be at the heart of this exchange. Switzerland and Canada share common values and close economic and cultural ties.

Before attending the opening week of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis will meet the Canadian foreign minister, Mélanie Joly, in Ottawa. The meeting will focus on strengthening Swiss–Canada relations and further development of bilateral and multilateral cooperation in business, research, environmental matters and human rights.

The Russian military aggression against Ukraine will also be on the meeting's agenda, which is expected to highlight the importance of values common to Switzerland and Canada such as democracy and the rule of law.

The Canadian initiative on arbitrary detention being used to exert pressure in state-to-state relations will also be discussed as an important matter under the Federal Council's Americas Strategy for 2022–25. Further development of this initiative will be the focus of a ministerial meeting hosted by Mélanie Joly and attended by Ignazio Cassis during the opening week of the UNGA.

The economic ties between Switzerland and Canada are good and wide-ranging. The fact that both countries are multilingual encourages lively cultural exchanges, especially between French-speaking Swiss and Canadian communities. With more than 41,000 Swiss abroad living in Canada, the country is home to the fifth-largest Swiss international community. Switzerland is therefore seeking to expand its cooperation with Canada in consular matters and with regard to multilingualism and minorities.

Canada is Switzerland's second biggest economic partner in the Americas. In 2022, Switzerland imported goods from Canada worth almost CHF 7.4 billion. Swiss exports to Canada totalled around CHF 4.1 billion. The economies of both countries benefit from the resulting innovation, investment and job creation.

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Federal Department of Foreign Affairs