Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter today announced the establishment of a Strategic Dialogue between the two countries.
The new partnership will involve regular meetings at both the ministerial and senior official level to strengthen cooperation on global security and economic issues, foster two-way trade and investment, and increase people-to-people links.
"The establishment of this framework for high-level discussions reflects the importance of relations between Australia and Switzerland as like-minded partners on international issues. Our two countries also share significant economic ties, and Switzerland was the fifth largest overall investor in Australia in 2012," Ms Bishop said.
The Ministers also signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the fields of science, research and innovation, which will provide the framework for future collaboration between Australia's and Switzerland's best scientists and world-leading research institutions.
"Increasing Australia's global scientific, research and innovation collaboration is a priority for the Australian Government. This new partnership presents an exciting opportunity for Australia's and Switzerland's world-class researchers and institutions to work together on major projects, including those that stimulate economic growth and create future business opportunities," she said.
Ms Bishop noted that Swiss passport holders would shortly be able to access Australia's automated border processing system, SmartGate, with initial trials commencing before the end of the year.
"Swiss passport holders will be among the first group outside those from New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom to be able to use SmartGate when travelling to Australia. This world-leading technology will facilitate Swiss travellers' entry to Australia and minimise the time they spend at border control," Ms Bishop said.
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