China, Switzerland ink FTA deal

CNC report from Beijing
Added On July 7, 2013

China and Switzerland on Saturday signed a free trade agreement, capping over two years of negotiations and legal process.

This is the first free trade pact inked between China and a country in continental Europe.

The pact was signed between Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng and Swiss Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann.
Gao describes the FTA as a comprehensive, high-quality and mutually beneficial agreement.

Once the FTA goes into effect, as much as 99.7 percent of Chinese exports to Switzerland will be immediately exempted from tariffs。

While 84.2 percent of Swiss exports to China will eventually receive zero tariff.

The deal is also expected to facilitate industrial cooperation between both countries and set new rules in the areas of environment, labor, intellectual property and government procurement.

Schneider-Ammann, head of the Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, says the FTA will inject vitality into bilateral economic and trade ties.

Under the deal, Swiss enterprises' access to the Chinese market will be better protected on the basis of existing laws.

The two sides also note that before the FTA can go into effect, some domestic procedures in both countries will need to be completed.

China is Switzerland's largest trading partner in Asia, while Switzerland is China's eighth-largest trading partner in Europe.

The bilateral trade volume between China and Switzerland reached over 26 billion U.S. dollars last year.