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Countries Strengthen Relations

China and Switzerland have sealed a historic free-trade agreement, the first of its kind between the Asian giant and a continental European country. Once ratified, the accord envisages that the People’s Republic remove tariff barriers on 84.2% of Swiss exports with Bern reciprocating by removing them on 99.7% of Chinese goods. It is “a sign that we want to continue to open our market,” declared Chinese trade minister Gao Hucheng to national media, “we have the will to stake steps forward to cement commercial ties with countries in Europe.” Relations with the EU are less than relaxed at the moment after the Brussels applied duties on Chinese solar panels and Beijing opened anti-dumping investigations on European wine imports.
Switzerland’s chief negotiator, Johann Schneider-Ammann, stated “I am convinced that this agreement will permit our countries to double export volumes over the next two to three years.” The financial details of the pact are also crucial, allowing Switzerland the possibility to create a platform for international transactions in renminbi. In other words the agreement will make Switzerland the de facto bridge between China and Europe.

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