China, Switzerland sign MOU on concluding FTA talks
25 May 2013
BERNE, Switzerland, May 24 (Xinhua) — China and Switzerland here on Friday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on concluding negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA).
The MOU was signed during a meeting between visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Swiss President Ueli Maurer.
The two sides also announced the establishment of a financial dialogue mechanism.
The China-Switzerland relations, having withstood vicissitudes of international situations over more than 60 years, are ever refreshing and have kept pace with the times, Li said, adding both sides have shown the courage to make innovations and breakthroughs.
Li said China and Switzerland announced the launch of FTA negotiations three years ago when he visited the Alpine nation, and now reached a mutually beneficial agreement of high level and high quality after making unremitting efforts.
It will be the first FTA to be signed between China and a country in continental Europe, which bears realistic significance and has long-term influence on expanding and deepening economic and trade relations not only between China and Switzerland but also those between China and Europe, Li noted.
China attaches great importance to ties with Switzerland and is willing to join efforts with the country to nail down the direction of their bilateral relations always in accordance with the developments of the two countries and the world at large, he said.
He called on both sides to respect each other, treat the other as an equal and respect the development path chosen by the other.
The China-Switzerland relations can surely enjoy a sound and stable development for a long term if the two sides view each other as friends, Li added.
The Chinese premier presented a four-point proposal on furthering bilateral ties.
Firstly, China and Switzerland should grasp any opportunity to expand the scale of investment and trade, and optimize structures, Li said.
He said both sides should strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation in such areas as high-end machinery manufacturing, precise instrument, biopharmaceutics, energy conservation and environmental protection and modern agriculture, to boost the comprehensive and rapid upgrade of bilateral economic and trade cooperation.
Secondly, he said the two sides should make good use of their new platform of the financial dialogue mechanism.
He called on both sides to deepen cooperation in areas such as financial supervision and regulation, macro policies and improvement of capital market system, and beef up coordination and cooperation within international financial institutions including the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, in a bid to jointly promote the establishment of a new international financial order featuring fairness, justice, inclusiveness and orderliness.
Thirdly, he said the two countries should expand cultural cooperation.
They should enhance communication and cooperation in the areas of culture, education, tourism and personnel training and expand people-to-people exchanges, so as to build a firmer foundation for the development of bilateral relations, Li said.
Fourthly, they should strengthen communication on regional and international affairs, said the Chinese premier.
China attaches great importance to the unique role played by Switzerland on the world arena, and is willing to strengthen communication and coordination with Switzerland on multilateral issues and within international organizations such as the United Nations, to contribute to maintaining world peace and stability and promoting common prosperity and development, he added.
For his part, Maurer said that China, which has made remarkable achievements in its development in recent years, is a fair and reliable partner of cooperation for Switzerland and is an important force in safeguarding world peace and development.
The friendly cooperative relationship between Switzerland and China boasts a long history and a solid foundation, and enjoys broad prospects, he said.
Noting the Chinese premier’s trip has yielded fruitful results, he said the conclusion of FTA talks and the launch of the financial dialogue mechanism mark another milestone in the bilateral relations.
Switzerland is willing to further expand the mutually beneficial cooperation and promote common development, the Swiss president said.
Li arrived in Switzerland on Thursday, after wrapping up his visits to India and Pakistan, to continue his four-nation overseas trip. He will also travel to Germany.