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China, Switzerland agree to start FTA talks

Xinhua, China

China, Switzerland agree to start FTA talks

13 August 2010

BEIJING, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) — China and Switzerland on Friday agreed to start free trade agreement (FTA) talks, as the two states celebrate their 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties.

Chinese President Hu Jintao and his Swiss counterpart, Doris Leuthard, witnessed the signing of the memorandum of understanding on finishing the FTA feasibility study that was started in 2009.

The two states will begin FTA talks as soon as possible, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said in a statement.

As one of the first Western countries to forge diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China, Switzerland has become China’s major trade partner in Europe.

"Facing new opportunities, China-Switzerland relations are at a new starting point," Hu told Leuthard during their 30-minute meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

President Hu hailed the development of bilateral relations and pledged to further expand political trust and trade and economic cooperation.

Leuthard conveyed her nation’s condolences to China over the series of natural disasters the country has suffered recently.

Leuthard also said Switzerland will stick to the one-China policy.

In China for a working visit, Leuthard also said the two states should boost cooperation in finance, education, culture, environmental protection, tourism and on international affairs.