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China and Switzerland will update the free trade agreement for deeper cooperation

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China and Switzerland announced on Monday the completion of the joint feasibility study on upgrading the bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), an important stride towards negotiations and deeper economic cooperation.

Swiss flag, stock market indicators and cash Swiss franc coins - Foto GettyImages

During talks between visiting Chinese Premier Li Qiang and President of the Swiss Confederation Viola Amherd on Monday, the two sides agreed on the early launch of formal negotiations on upgrading the FTA.

Li arrived in Switzerland on Sunday for an official visit, kicking off the latest episode of high-level exchanges between the two countries.

China and Switzerland have been committed to nurturing strong economic ties. In 2022, two-way trade amounted to 57.3 billion U.S. dollars, up by 30 percent year on year, according to statistics from China's General Administration of Customs.

During Li's stay in Switzerland, China announced a unilateral visa-free treatment to Switzerland, and the Swiss side more visa facilitation for Chinese citizens as well as Chinese enterprises investing in Switzerland.

Switzerland, as one of the first Western countries to recognize the newly founded People's Republic of China, established diplomatic relations with China in 1950. Since then remarkable progress has been made in bilateral exchanges and cooperation.

Echoing Li's remarks, the Swiss side voiced willingness to continue quality dialogue with China, deepen cooperation in such fields as economy and trade, education, finance, science and technology as well as people-to-people and cultural exchanges.

"It is a sign of a wish to deepen this very rich relationship that has brought our two countries together," said Jean-Jacques de Dardel, former ambassador of Switzerland to China.

In 2023, Li chose Europe as his first destination for overseas visits since taking office. At the start of this year, the Chinese premier set foot again on the European continent, kicking off high-level China-Europe exchanges.

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