Free Trade negotiations between Switzerland and China officially launched
Bern, 28.01.2011 - Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, today met with the Chinese Minister of Commerce, Chen Deming, at the WEF Annual Meeting in Davos to officially launch negotiations between Switzerland and the People's Republic of China with a view to concluding a Free Trade Agreement, and to discuss other issues of common interest.
During their meeting, Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann and Minister of Commerce Chen Deming signed a Memorandum of Understanding officially launching negotiations on a wide-ranging Free Trade Agreement between Switzerland and China. Negotiating teams from the two countries will convene to commence negotiations within weeks. At the press conference, both Ministers expressed their belief that the Free Trade Agreement will provide mutually beneficial framework conditions, contribute to increased bilateral trade and economic exchanges, and reinforce cooperation in a variety of areas. They also underlined their wish to see the negotiations proceed swiftly.
Federal Councillor Schneider-Ammann stated that the negotiations are expected to cover trade in goods, services and other relevant issues and areas of cooperation such as intellectual property rights and the promotion of investment, with a view to enhancing bilateral relations and promoting sustainable development.
Besides launching the negotiations, the two Ministers reviewed bilateral economic relations and discussed issues of common interest. China has been Switzerland's most important trading partner in Asia since 2002, and trade between Switzerland and the People's Republic of China is growing faster than overall Swiss external trade. In the first eleven months of 2010, Switzerland exported CHF 6.7 billion worth of goods to China (+34%) and over the same period imported goods worth CHF 5.6 billion (+18%). Switzerland is one of the few Western countries to enjoy a positive trade balance with the People's Republic of China.
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