Switzerland's Relationship With the United States Term Paper

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Switzerland's Relationship With The United States

The two countries enjoy a close relationship at varying levels (Merz 2005). Statistics state that more than 20,000 or 10% of all Swiss living abroad live in the U.S.A. On the other hand, 20,000 Americans live in Switzerland. Switzerland is one of the six biggest investors in the U.S.A., while Switzerland is the top fourth recipient of U.S. foreign direct investment. Approximately 430,000 Americans are employed by 600 Swiss companies throughout the U.S.A. In response, 650 U.S. companies in Switzerland employ 67,000 Swiss. Next only to Germany, the U.S. is Switzerland's biggest export market. The U.S. receives 10% of its exports, valued at CHF 14.2 billion. In the meantime, U.S. products are in fourth rank among Swiss imports (Merz).

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Developments and changes in the U.S. affect the Swiss in even deeper ways (Merz 2005). The Swiss admire America's economic might and power of innovation. Their close ties were established by the Johann Rudolph Valltravers of Bern and Benjamin Franklin of the U.S. At the end of the 18th century. Despite conflicts during the Second World War, the two republics would remain entrenched in their harmonious relationship. The bilateral relationship between them today is viewed as quite extensive and complex. They engage in constant dialogue, particularly on security topics, including transmission of air passenger data, biometric data in passports and the fight against terrorism and corruption. They have good working relationship in export controls, commodity trade, administrative assistance and science and technology. They work together with the World Trade Organization and the OECD. The Swiss Federal Council has recently begun exploring free trade negotiations with the U.S. In intensifying the relationship and act as its economic bridge in Europe. It also seeks to negotiate for mutual administrative assistance in custom matters; improve its present auditing regulations; set up a science and technology framework agreement; and revise their current air transport agreement.

Switzerland in the Late 20th Century (Post-1945)

Term Paper on Switzerland's Relationship With the United States the Assignment

Throughout World War II, Switzerland was not attacked by the Germans by staying independent and through its use of military resistance, economic concessions to Germany and sheer luck (Infoplease 2006). The economy began to grow from this time. By 1950, the federal government finally decided to grant permanent asylum to only 1,500 psychologically traumatized cases and the sick refugees. By 1954, the Jewish community shrank to less than 20,000. In 1971, women were granted the right to vote, although only gradually until a judicial decision granted it completely in 1992. The Swiss population grew from 4.5 to 7.5 million between 1945 and 1970 at approximately.5% annually since the 90s, mainly due to immigration. After women received the right to vote, they quickly became active and began political activity. The first woman in the seven-member high council was Elisabeth Kopp from 1984-89 and the first female president was Ruth Dreifuss in 1998 (Infoplease).

After joining the Council of Europe in 1963, Switzerland became a full member of the United Nations (Infoplease 2006). It is a founding member of the EFTA, although not a member of the European Economic Area. It applied for membership in May 1992. On account of mixed reactions, the application has pended. Nevertheless, the Swiss government signed a number of bilateral agreements with the EU. Switzerland, along with Liechtenstein, has been entirely surrounded by the EU since Austria became a member in 1995. In September 2000, Swiss voters voted against reducing the number of foreigners into the country to only 18% of the population. Two years later, Switzerland ceased to be a neutral state by becoming the 190th member of the UN. On June 5, 2005, 55% of Swiss voters agreed to join the Schengen treaty. This was viewed by EU commentators as a sign of support by Switzerland despite its traditional status as an independent, neutralist or isolationist country.

Historical Topics about Switzerland

Washington Agreement

Before the end of World War II, the Allied powers, under their "Safe Haven" policy, demanded all German foreign assets to be submitted to them for the reconstruction of Europe (Castelmur 1992). The Swiss Federal Council froze all German assets in February 1945 in order to end international isolation for itself and its firms, which were boycotted for perceived collaboration with the Germans. On May 25, 1946, Switzerland and three representative Western Allied Powers reached an agreement for Switzerland to return 250 million Swiss francs. The Allies, in signing the agreement, waived all claims against the government of Switzerland and the Swiss National Bank concerning the gold acquired by Switzerland from Germany. Frozen German assets in Germany would be liquidated and the proceeds split among the Western Allies negotiators and Switzerland. Frozen Swiss assets in the U.S.A. And the blacklist on Switzerland lifted in 1948. A definite agreement was reached in 1952 with the creation of the Federal German Republic. Switzerland paid the Allies a redemption amount of 121.5 million Swiss francs, refunded by the Federal German Republic upon the release of German assets (Castelmur).


This was central to the Swiss refugee policy until 1954 as ratified at the Geneva Refugee Convention (Erlanger 2006). At this time, practically all 22,500 Jewish refugees, who escaped into Switzerland since the 1930s, had been evacuated. From 1945-1947, survivors were sent back to their native Palestine, Australia, the United States, Buchenwald, Theresienstadt and Hungary. Driven by the overwhelming vote for permanent asylum in 1948, the federal government also eventually granted it to select fugees in 1950. As a consequence, the Jewish community of less than 20,000 who settled in Switzerland since 1938, returned to Switzerland (Erlanger).

Switzerland's Greatest Success

Some believe that Switzerland, not the United States, is the greatest political success story of the modern world (Sobran 2001). It has been so successful that it is hardly spoken of because it embarrasses all other states. It has had no wars, no international crises, no crimes, none of the bloodshed, which puts big nations on the global headlines. If Switzerland cannot be the greatest country on earth, it can be considered the sanest. It has a very settled history and the Swiss can be mighty proud of their country for not making much history itself (Sobran).

Switzerland survived two great World Wars for its neutral status (Sobran 2001). This was precisely why the rest resented and envied it. The rest believed that going to war was a duty of all progressive and progressive nations. Yet the Swiss felt that the rest of the world could go on conducting its affairs with dissension and bloodshed without them. It was only recently that it joined the United Nations. It did not join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or the European Union. They have no troops, battleships, submarines and military bases around the world to preserve their national and international interests. They have no nuclear plants. They have no taste for wars and manslaughter. For being isolationists, they resisted onslaught into their independence. One victorious consequence was that numerous Swiss escaped the violent deaths in the 20th century carnage, which quite many innocent people in the world did not. They have men who are required by law to serve in the military. But their job is clearly defense, not colonialism or global leadership or a world empire. Switzerland can boast of a truly federal system of government, which means "decentralized." Every canton preserves its independence. The national president of Switzerland has little power or opportunity to grab it for "greatness." The Swiss franc is among the world more stable currencies and Swiss banks have remained the most secure and trusted repositories (Sobran).

Switzerland's Greatest Problem Today

During World War II, the Swiss National Bank reportedly bought gold both from the Allies and the Germans (Castelmur 1992). The gold from the Allies remained on deposit with them, but the gold from Germany was moved to Switzerland.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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