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China inks FTA with Switzerland
May 25, 2013, 5:45 pm

China signs an FTA with Switzerland (Xinhua Images)

China signs an FTA with Switzerland [Xinhua Images]

China and Switzerland on Friday announced the completion of talks over a new free trade agreement (FTA), the first to be signed between Beijing and continental Europe.

Trade between China and Switzerland exceeded $30 billion in 2011, a record rise of 50 per cent from 2010.

A memorandum of understanding was signed during a meeting between visiting Premier Li Keqiang and Swiss President Ueli Maurer.

The two sides also announced the establishment of a financial dialogue mechanism.

Li said Switzerland will become the first country in continental Europe and the first of the world’s top 20 economies to sign an FTA with China, adding that the implications will be significant.

“A high-quality FTA agreement between China and Switzerland will not only upgrade our business and investment cooperation, but also send a powerful message to the rest of the world that we reject trade and investment protectionism and instead embrace trade liberalization and facilitation,” Li wrote in an article published a German-language Swiss daily.

Despite the persistent eurozone sovereign debt crisis and uncertainties in the world economy, bilateral trade volume remained as high as $26.3 billion in 2012.

China is Switzerland’s third-largest trading partner behind the EU and the United States, while Switzerland is China’s seventh-largest trading partner in Europe.

Source: Agencies