The People's Republic of China is now the world's second-largest economy, and already the largest after adjusting for purchasing power. Today, China can look back on a period of above-average growth and accelerated urbanization. After a rapid economic recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic and confronted with demographic change, China appears to be turning more inward economically. At the same time, the leadership is promoting urbanization and consumption.
China is a central part of the multilateral system and thus has a responsibility to fulfil its international obligations. The sometimes divergent views between Switzerland and China are based onfundamental differences in form of government and economic order . This is evident, for example, in data and internet governance or in the treatment of state-owned enterprises.
China is now Switzerland's number one trading partner in Asia and the third most important globally after the EU and the USA. Switzerland's foreign economic policy towards China is based on the Federal Council's China Strategy. It pursues the goal of non-discriminatory, market-based and mutually beneficial access for goods, services and investments. This includes the protection of intellectual property rights, data and information protection, and ensuring cross-border data flows for economic activities. In particular, the Federal Council is seeking to modernise the existing bilateral free trade agreement concluded in 2014. In the search for constructive solutions at the bilateral and multilateral level - namely within the framework of the WTO, the OECD and other economic organisations and bodies - Switzerland is taking greater account of sustainability and human rights issues in its cooperation with China.