On the first official visit of a U.S. secretary of state to Bern in more than 20 years, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke of the U.S. and Switzerland as “natural partners.”
“Today we are driving towards even greater cooperation,” he said during a June 2 press event with Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis.
Pompeo met Cassis, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus and business leaders from Switzerland and Lichtenstein during his visit.
At their joint press conference, Cassis and Pompeo spoke about the broad scope of U.S.-Swiss relations, dating back to the establishment of a unified Swiss state in 1853.
“We in the United States have enormous respect and appreciation for Switzerland and the role that your nation plays all around the world,” said Pompeo. “We know that Switzerland prizes its neutrality but never shies away from defending its values, including democracy, peace, and good governance” worldwide.
He added that President Trump “was proud to be the first U.S. president ever to host a Swiss president at the White House” a few weeks ago.
As democracies with a shared commitment to the rule of law and free market capitalism, Switzerland and the United States are closely linked by trade and investment, among other ties.
In 2017, total U.S. goods-and-services trade with Switzerland reached $121.9 billion, and the United States is one of the largest foreign investors in Switzerland. Similarly, the United States is one of the top destinations for Swiss investors.
“It’s easy to see why American businesses love to do business here in Switzerland,” said Pompeo. Switzerland has “a central location here in Europe; it has financial and political stability, first-class infrastructure, and a highly trained workforce. It’s a great place for American businesses to come and work.”
Pompeo also expressed gratitude for Switzerland’s help in protecting U.S. interests in Iran.
The United States, he said, is “deeply appreciative” of Switzerland’s willingness to perform consular services for U.S. citizens unjustly imprisoned in Iran. Swiss diplomats “manage the cases of our missing or imprisoned U.S. citizens” there, “visiting them in Iranian jails and assuring them and their families that their country is doing everything it can to bring them home,” said Pompeo.
My meetings with @ignaziocassis demonstrated that our ties run deep. We discussed the U.S.-Switzerland relationship and ways to further advance trade and investment, collaborate in research and development, and counter transnational crime and terrorism. pic.twitter.com/Yi1lM3Gvmj
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) June 2, 2019