Business Association Chemistry Pharma Life Sciences

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Foreign trade: Chemistry Pharma Life Sciences are export champions

With a share of over 48 percent of total Swiss exports, the Chemistry Pharma Life Sciences industries continue to prove very resistant to the crisis and are the driving force of the Swiss export economy. The European Union remains the most important trading partner.


"The Chemistry Pharma Life Sciences industries remain Swiss export champions," says Stephan Mumenthaler, director of scienceindustries. "Exports from the chemical-pharmaceutical industry accounted for around 48 percent of Switzerland's total exports last year." With an export volume of 134.5 billion Swiss francs, they achieved a slight increase of 2.8 percent compared to the previous year (2021: 130.9 billion CHF). Despite the difficult economic environment (rising inflation, high raw material, energy and transport costs, increasing regulation), the 2022 annual balance sheet demonstrates the robustness of the Chemistry Pharma Life Sciences industries. 

The share of Chemistry Pharma Life Sciences in Switzerland's total exports has grown constantly over the last two decades: while still around 30 percent in 2000, it has contributed at least 45 percent since 2016. These industries are thus proving to be a central pillar of the Swiss foreign and national economy and are making a significant contribution to the prosperity of our country.

EU most important trading partner

The most important sales market remains the European Union (EU) with a share of almost 48 percent (CHF 63.8 billion). After the EU, North America is the second most important export destination for our member companies with CHF 34 billion and 25 percentage points. In Asia with its emerging markets, our industries sold goods worth 22.7 billion Swiss francs (almost 17 percent) last year. On the import side, 71.2 percent of the imported chemical-pharmaceutical products come from the EU.

The European single market is thus also the most important supplier of raw materials, semi-finished products and finished products. Against this background, regulated relations and secure access to the European single market are vital for the survival of our industries. An erosion of the bilateral agreements must be counteracted as quickly as possible. Furthermore, market access must be improved or expanded through diversification of trading partners.

USA most important consumer country

In a country comparison, the USA is the most important export destination with 23.4 percent (CHF 31.5 billion), followed by Germany with around 12.2 percent (CHF 16.3 billion). In January 2023, Switzerland signed a sectoral agreement with the USA on the mutual recognition of inspection results in the area of "Good Manufacturing Practice" for medicinal products (GMP MRA). This is an important step towards strengthening bilateral economic relations between Switzerland and the USA. scienceindustries welcomes the expansion of the network of agreements on the mutual recognition of inspection results with countries with comparable regulatory requirements.

With a share of 81.5 percent (CHF 109.6 billion) of the total exports of the Chemistry Pharma Life Sciences industries, pharmaceutical products, vitamins and diagnostics continue to be the most important product group. This sector accounts for almost 40 percent of Switzerland's total exports.


For more figures, please refer to our foreign trade statistics.


Information on this media release:

Stephan Mumenthaler, Director
Phone: +41 44 368 17 20, 

Erik Jandrasits, Foreign Trade
Phone: +41 44 368 17 22,


About scienceindustries:

scienceindustries, the Swiss Business Association Chemistry Pharma Life Sciences, works to ensure excellent international framework conditions for its approximately 250 members. The Chemistry Pharma Life Sciences industry employs around 77,000 people in Switzerland. As Switzerland's largest export industry, it makes a significant contribution to Swiss prosperity. In terms of competitiveness, the Swiss Chemistry Pharma Life Sciences industry ranks second after the USA and is therefore among the absolute world leaders in terms of performance, market position, innovative capacity and technological leadership.


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