Conclusion of FTA talks creates vast space for deepening Sino-Swiss ties: Premier Li

Xinhua, China

Conclusion of FTA talks creates vast space for deepening Sino-Swiss ties: Premier Li

25 May 2013

BERN, Switzerland, May 24 (Xinhua) — The conclusion of talks over a free trade agreement (FTA) between China and Switzerland will create a vast space for further development of bilateral ties and is also conducive to the development of China-Europe relations, visiting Chinese Premier Li keqiang said here Friday.

At a joint press conference with Swiss President Ueli Maurer, Li said he and the Swiss leader reached many important consensuses during their friendly and sincere meeting, adding China and Switzerland are good friends and partners.

He recalled that the two countries decided to launch FTA negotiations three years ago when he visited Switzerland.

They have now signed relative cooperative documents on concluding the talks, which is a significant event in the history of China-Switzerland relations, he said.

The agreement, high in quality and rich in content, showed China and Switzerland firmly oppose trade protectionism, and that China is to take further steps in expanding its opening up, Li said, adding the move will also play a significant and active role in promoting the liberalization of world trade.

The Chinese premier also said the two sides agreed to respect each other and treat each other as equals politically, to expand cultural and people-to-people exchanges and cooperation and closely communicate and cooperate with each other on regional and global affairs.

They also agreed to carry out closer cooperation in such fields as trade and economy and establish a financial dialogue mechanism, Li said, adding that both believe they could produce more miracles in cooperation in manufacturing and finance.

Since the two countries have different histories, cultures and national conditions, Li said, China and Switzerland may have different views on certain issues, but their common interests far outweigh their differences.

"As long as both sides stick to dialogue on an equal basis, strengthen communication and enhance mutual understanding, there is no problem that cannot be solved between the two countries," Li said.

The Chinese premier noted that both China and Switzerland need a peaceful and stable environment to fulfill their modernization and prosperity goals, respectively.

"China will unswervingly follow a path of peaceful development and adhere to a win-win strategy of open-up," he said.

It has become an inevitable rule in the era of globalization that one must let others develop while developing itself, and let others benefit while benefiting itself, the Chinese premier said.

"China has always been dedicated to peaceful coexistence and common development with other countries in the world," he said.

Maurer, for his part, hailed the smooth development of bilateral relations.

He said Switzerland was honored to become the first continental European country to establish a free trade zone and financial dialogue mechanism with China.

"I believe that would vigorously promote Switzerland’s development and lay a more solid foundation for the long-term development of Switzerland-China ties," the Swiss president said.

Switzerland is ready to work with China to deepen their comprehensive cooperation and raise bilateral ties to a new level, he said.

Earlier on Friday, Li and Maurer witnessed the signing of a host of agreements on cooperation in economy and trade, finance, human resources, education and other areas.

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