18 May 2022
China warmly welcomes the Delegation of Switzerland, led by H.E. Ambassador Markus Schlagenhof and the Delegation of Liechtenstein, led by H.E. Ambassador Kurt Jäger to the sixth joint Trade Policy Review and would like to thank the Discussant, Ambassador Hung Seng TAN for his insightful comments and guiding questions. Many thanks also go to you, Chair and the Secretariat for the efforts to make this Review happen.
It is highly commendable that Switzerland and Liechtenstein, characterized by high living standards and a highly skilled labour force, maintain the world's top high GDP per-capita countries. Their fiscal status is sound and unemployment rate is traditionally low. China is pleased to notice in the Secretariat Report that the long-term economic prospects are not expected to be negatively affected by the pandemic.
China welcomes the continued efforts by the both governments of Switzerland and Liechtenstein in trade and investment liberalization. It is worth noting that the Swiss government has announced all duties on industrial goods would be eliminated by 1 January 2024.
On the multilateral side, like many other Members, we appreciate the firm commitments of Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the multilateral trading system. Both countries are active members of the WTO and maintain a solid record of notifications. We commend them for playing an active role both in the regular work of WTO and the negotiations. Annual WTO ministerial meeting held in the margins of the World Economic Forum in Davos has become an important platform for advancing the discussion in WTO. Especially, we would like to thank Switzerland for co-hosting MC12 in the coming month.
Taking this opportunity, China would like to pay special tribute to Ambassador Chambovey for his personal contribution to the WTO as Chair of General Council and previously as Chair of DSB, and his able team for their hard work in Geneva.
China and Switzerland enjoy close bilateral trade relations, with China being the third largest trading partner of Switzerland. Switzerland is the first European country signing free trade agreement (FTA) with China. Bilateral trade doubled within 10 years, and a major part of the growth happened after the FTA came into effect in 2014. In 2021, bilateral trade between China and Switzerland stands at 44.1 billion US dollars, among which 86% is China’s import from Switzerland. Switzerland is the largest source of investment to China among non-EU countries in Europe and is a popular destination for China's outward investment.
China and Switzerland both recognize the importance of intellectual property rights and have enhanced bilateral cooperation in this field. We are pleased to share that China-Switzerland Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade had its 11th Working Group Meeting on Intellectual Property Rights in March 2022. The two sides exchanged views on the latest developments in intellectual property legislation and enforcement. Both governments responded to industry concerns with a view to improving IPR protection.
For the purpose of this review, we have submitted written questions on environment-ralated import prohibitons and CO2 law. We appreciate the timely response and would conduct further review.
China wishes Switzerland and Liechtenstein a successful Trade Policy Review.
Thank you Chair.