Switzerland–Uruguay relations are foreign relations between Uruguay and Switzerland. Both countries share a long history of mutual economic relations, and they established diplomatic relations in 1828. Uruguay became a popular destination for Swiss migrants starting in the 1860s. In the 20th century, Uruguay has looked to Switzerland as a model for government, historical and cultural ties go back to at least the 19th century. There were 956 people with Swiss passports residing in Uruguay in 2008. Uruguay was described as the "Switzerland of the Americas" in a 1951 New York Times article for its popularity as a haven for capital fleeing Europe at the time and its adoption of Swiss-inspired banking laws. Thomas J. Knight also wrote that "Uruguay has for most of its history been the 'Switzerland' of South America."
In 1860 the Basel bank of Siegrist und Fender purchased farm land in Uruguay. It was not long before the first Swiss citizens moved to Uruguay with the goal of working the land as farmers where they founded the colony of Nueva Helvecia around 1862. In 1931, Uruguay called for a Swiss style parliamentary system.
During both World Wars, Switzerland acted as an intermediary between Uruguay and Germany. Near the end of World War I, in 1918 and following an incident where a German submarine captured a delegation sent by Uruguay to France, "Uruguay caused Germany to be asked through Switzerland, whether Germany understood a state of war to exist between the two countries." Again, during World War II, Switzerland, as protecting power, represented Uruguay in Germany, Italy, Hungary and France.
A Swiss Chamber of Commerce has been in Uruguay since 1944. After the Korean War, Uruguay adopted Swiss style banking laws and became the "Switzerland of the Americas".
Swiss exports to Uruguay in 2008 were CHF 127.6 million, and Swiss imports in 2008 were CHF 66 million.
^ abcde"Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs about relations with Uruguay". Switzerland. Retrieved 2009-05-14. "The independent Republic of Uruguay came into being in 1828 and became a popular destination for Swiss migrants. It was German-Swiss farmers who in 1862-63 founded the colony of Nueva Helvecia. They introduced cheese-making and other agricultural innovations. Immigrants from Ticino were successful as skilled builders, artists and also footballers."
^American Historical Association, James Alexander Robertson, JSTOR (Organization), Project Muse, The Hispanic American historical review 1 (Board of Editors of the Hispanic American Review, 1918), 207.
^Janner, A. (1948). Über die völkerrechtliche Stellung und die Aufgaben der Schutzmacht im Kriege, auf Grund der Erfahrungen der Schweiz im Zweiten Weltkrieg. Schriftenreihe des Instituts für internationales Recht und internationale Beziehungen (in German, published in French translation) 7. Basel: Helbing & Lichtenhahn.
^Accord entre la Confédération suisse et la République orientale de l'Uruguay concernant la promotion et la protection réciproques des investissements / Acuerdo de promoción y protección recíprocas de inversiones entre Suiza y Uruguay of 1988-10-07, SR/RS 0.975.277.6 (D·F·I)