Switzerland’s foreign minister inaugurated a new consulate general in Chicago, a vital economic area in the midwestern United States and a top destination for Swiss companies.
The focus is on "innovation, investment and people," Ignazio Cassis said at the opening on Monday.
With the new Consulate General, Swiss companies and institutions will have a direct contact person for their needs, noted his office in a statement.
It is not the first time Switzerland has had a diplomatic representation in the “windy city”.
Switzerland was the first country to open a consulate in Chicago in 1864, which remained in service for 104 years. Many Swiss immigrants already emigrated to the United States’ third largest city in the 19th century. The Swiss Consulate General in Chicago was closed in 2014 to save costs and the view that the consular services were provided by the Washington and New York offices.
Today there are 35,000 people with Swiss roots and more than 100 Swiss companies living in the state of Illinois and its urban center Chicago. Swiss companies create up to 30,000 jobs, making them the sixth largest foreign employer in the region. In recent years, demand for Swiss Business Hub services in the Midwest has risen sharply, especially among Swiss small and medium enterprises.
“The opening of the Consulate General thus closes an important gap between the East and West coasts,” notes the foreign ministry.
US-Swiss cooperation has also intensified in the areas of education, research and innovation.
Consul General Bruno Ryff took office in Chicago on September 1, 2019. However, consular services for the region continue to be served from Washington and New York.