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Swiss FTA signal against protectionism- China
July 7, 2013, 5:43 am

Bilateral trade between China and Switzerland reached $22.89 billion in May 2013. (Xinhua Images)

Bilateral trade between China and Switzerland reached $22.89 billion in May 2013. [Xinhua]

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has asserted that the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed between China and Switzerland is a “strong signal against trade protectionism”.

Describing the FTA as a ‘milestone in China-Europe cooperation’, Li said convenient trade relations could be “a good remedy” for the difficult recovery of the global economy.

Li also expressed China’s willingness “to work with all related parties to achieve progress in Doha round negotiations and help stabilise and revive world economy”.

Swiss Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann was quoted by AFP as saying his country is keen on a renminbi hub in Switzerland.

“The Swiss side, the Swiss financial system, in particular the Swiss National Bank, we are interested in getting the chance to negotiate with the Chinese about a renminbi hub in the centre of Europe, in Switzerland,” Schneider-Ammann said.

The FTA was signed in Beijing on Saturday by Schneider-Ammann and Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng.

Official figures said bilateral trade between China and Switzerland reached $22.89 billion in May 2013.

China and the EU are locked in a bitter trade dispute at the WTO over Chinese solar imports.

Earlier in June this year, the EU imposed an interim anti-dumping duty of 11.8 per cent on imports of all Chinese solar panel products, including panels, cells and wafers.

If both sides fail to come to an agreement, the duty will be raised to an average of 47.6 per cent two months after it went into effect.

China has also launched an anti-dumping probe on European wine imports following the EU punitive measures.

German economic minister Philipp Rösler has called the EU’s decision to impose punitive fines on China’s solar products as “a serious mistake”.

With inputs from Agencies 

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