Sino-Swiss ties marked by trust, dynamism
Updated: 2013-05-23 15:13
GENEVA - The relations between China and Switzerland are marked by mutual trust and dynamism, Swiss President Ueli Maurer told Xinhua in a written interview ahead of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's visit to his country.
Switzerland-China relations enjoy smooth development in various forms, Maurer said.
Switzerland is one of the first Western countries to set up joint ventures in China and recognize China's market economy status, while China regards Switzerland as a bridgehead for it to develop ties with Europe, he noted.
Switzerland and China have carried out constructive and meaningful cooperation and dialogue in many fields since the establishment of diplomatic ties over 60 years ago, Maurer said.
In recent years, bilateral communication in such areas as science and technology, finance and culture has been strengthened, while people-to-people exchanges have been intensified, he noted.
China and Switzerland are economically complementary, and cooperation in building a free trade zone will provide opportunities for the two countries to further enhance bilateral trade and investment, and for Swiss and Chinese companies to conduct mutually beneficial cooperation in technology and other areas, he said, noting it is in the common interests of the two sides.
For companies of both sides, a free trade zone will be conducive to entering each other's market and increasing their competitive edge, Maurer said.
China and Switzerland formally launched bilateral negotiations on a free trade agreement at the beginning of 2011.
Bilateral trade volume between the two countries reached $26.3 billion ars in 2012. China is now Switzerland's largest trade partner in Asia, while Switzerland remains China's seventh largest trade partner in Europe.
The Swiss president said he and the Chinese premier are expected to have an extensive and in-depth exchange of views not only on bilateral issues but also on global issues like security and environment.
The two sides are also to ink a host of cooperative documents in various domains, he said.
"I am convinced that the visit will have a very positive and strong impact on our relations," he said.
Recalling his first trip to China as the defense minister in 2011, Maurer said China has been developing at a very fast speed, noting the Asian country has not only made achievements in economy, but also played an important role on the international arena.
China shoulders great responsibility at multilateral and global level, Maurer said.
"Switzerland has the privilege of being an interlocutor of China long time ago and it is only more willing to continue and deepen the exchanges with such a partner," he said.
Intergovernmental cooperation and economy will continue to be the foundation of the Switzerland-China ties, Maurer said.
Premier Li, who is currently on an official visit to Pakistan following a trip to India, is expected to arrive in Switzerland on Thursday to continue his first overseas trip since assuming premiership in March. He will also visit Germany.