The long-standing bilateral relations between the People's Republic of China and the Swiss Confederation are strong and have intensified over the past years. In the mid-17th century traders and missionaries from Switzerland established contact with the Chinese Empire. Trading relations developed at a rapid pace in the second half of the 18th century, leading to the opening of a Swiss trading hub in Shanghai in 1912. Diplomatic relations were established as early as in 1950 with the newly founded PR of China. In 1980, the Swiss Schindler Group marked the first industrial joint venture founded in China with ‘China Schindler Elevator Co.’. Bilateral relations between Switzerland and China have developed at a very brisk pace since. In 2007, China and Switzerland signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the intensification of high-level political consultations and the further deepening of bilateral relations. Today, China is Switzerland's primary trading partner in Asia.
The year 2014 represents another important milestone in the history of Sino-Swiss relations. The entry into force of the bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between China and Switzerland on July 1 this year will further deepen the economic relations between the two countries. For China it is also the first FTA to come into effect with a continental European country, and with one of the top 20 world economies.
In this brochure we give an overview of the FTA between China and Switzerland and how it enhances the benefits Switzerland already offers Chinese companies looking to operate in the European market. Switzerland lies at the heart of Europe but yet remains independent. It is the most competitive business location in the world according to the ‘Global Competitiveness Report 2013’. Innovative strength and technology, a competitive market economy system, political stability, excellent education, professional training and health systems, outstanding infrastructure and high quality of life, plus a competitive tax system are the reasons that make Switzerland home to many leading global companies and organizations. They include the United Nations and the International Olympic Committee, as well as a large number of multinational companies that have their global headquarters in Switzerland such as ABB, Nestlé, Novartis, Roche, Credit Suisse and UBS. In more recent years they have been joined by numerous global and European headquarters of Chinese companies that include the likes of Sinopec, Huawei, Yuanda and Trina Solar, and international companies such as Google, IBM, Unilever and DMG Mori.
Every company having different requirements, Switzerland and each of its 26 cantons actively encourage inbound investment by providing a flexible package of services tailored to each company's needs. The Swiss Business Hub China welcomes your interest in our country as your gateway to Europe and encourages you to contact our local representatives at the Embassy of Switzerland in Beijing or at any of the Swiss Consulates in other Chinese cities. We will offer you a warm welcome and help you discover the unique benefits and advantages Switzerland has to offer.
JEAN-JACQUES DE DARDEL
Ambassador of Switzerland to China