Switzerland wants free trade with China
8 April 2007
Reuters - "I will lead a large business delegation to China in June, and will try to give support so that China opens negotiations with Switzerland," Leuthard told the Neue Zuercher Zeitung am Sonntag newspaper in an interview.
China is in free trade talks with Iceland and will start talks with Norway, Leuthard said. Both countries are members of the four-member European Free Trade Association (EFTA), along with Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
"Such deals are important for Switzerland, given that we are not a member of the European Union, nor of the North-American NAFTA free trade zone or the Asian community of nations," Leuthard told the newspaper.
China is negotiating a range of free trade agreements, a trend that is spreading across Asia as prospects dim for a breakthrough in multilateral market-opening talks under the umbrella of the World Trade Organisation.
Switzerland has closed or is in talks over a score of trade deals, mostly through the EFTA. It has a small number of deals outside EFTA, most notably one with the European Union, and is also working on a bilateral deal with Japan.