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Switzerland, China Ink FTA

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

10 July 2013

Swiss Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann and Chinese Commerce Minister GAO Hucheng have recently signed the bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) between Switzerland and China in Beijing.

The free trade agreement with China covers a comprehensive range of sectors and issues. It contains a preamble and provisions on trade in goods (industrial products, processed and basic agricultural products, rules of origin, customs procedures and trade facilitation, non-tariff barriers to trade, trade remedies) and trade in services.

In addition, the treaty covers the protection of intellectual property, investment promotion, competition, transparency in public procurement, trade-related environmental and labor issues (the latter as part of a parallel agreement signed on the same day), economic and technical cooperation and institutional provisions (joint committee and dispute settlement procedures).

In conjunction with the FTA, Switzerland and China signed five sector-specific cooperation agreements in the fields of technical barriers to trade and sanitary and phytosanitary measures.

According to the Swiss Federal Department of Finance (FDF), the comprehensive free trade agreement will improve access for exports of Swiss goods and services to the large and growing Chinese market and facilitate two-way trade. The accord will also strengthen legal certainty for economic exchange, promote bilateral cooperation between Switzerland and China and contribute to sustainable development, the FDF stresses.

China is the world's second largest economy after the USA and one of Switzerland's most important foreign economic partners. China is the largest market for Swiss industrial products in Asia and the third largest worldwide (after the European Union and the USA). In 2012, Switzerland exported goods to China valued at CHF7.8bn (USD8.1bn) (3.7 percent of total Swiss exports), imports from China were valued at CHF10.3bn (5.5 percent of total exports).

The agreement is expected to enter into effect in 2014.

TAGS: environment | Finance | investment | free trade agreement (FTA) | intellectual property | China | agreements | Switzerland | United States | trade | European Union (EU) | services | Europe

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