Chinese textiles and clothing sector is among the industries that are likely to get a boost due to the likely implementation of a free trade agreement (FTA) between China and Switzerland, next month.
A framework agreement, ahead of the formal FTA, was signed by both countries during the visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to Swiss capital Berne last month.
As per the bilateral FTA, which needs to be approved by both chambers of the Swiss Parliament before it can be ratified, Switzerland will offer zero tariffs for 99.7 percent of China’s exports, while China will offer zero tariffs for 84.2 percent of Swiss products.
At present, China is Switzerland’s largest trading partner outside the EU and the US, while Switzerland is China’s seventh biggest trading partner in Europe. Last year, bilateral trade between the two nations totaled US$ 26 billion, which included textiles and apparel trade.
Addressing a press conference, China’s Assistant Minister of Commerce Yu Jianhua said the Sino-Swiss FTA is a win-win situation for both the countries. As per the agreement, import duties on Chinese exports to Switzerland will be reduced drastically.
The Minister said reducing tariffs and increasing imports of products on the higher end of the production chain will help China’s industrial upgrading efforts.
For China, the FTA is the first such deal with one of the world’s 20 top economies, and the second with a European nation, following its signing of a FTA with Iceland, which also falls outside the 27-nation EU bloc, a month ago.
The bilateral FTA is one of China’s highest level and most comprehensive free trade pacts, which will deepen China-Switzerland economic and trade ties, as various industries of the two countries complement each other, Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said in a statement.
Once the FTA is ratified and implemented, Chinese textiles and clothing exports to Switzerland are likely to get a boost, as these will enjoy zero tariffs.
Besides the framework agreement, which was signed by Premier Li Keqiang and Swiss President Ueli Maurer, the two nations also inked agreements on country-of-origin criterion so that the companies that do not qualify for FTA benefits do not take any undue advantage.
Both sides also developed a consensus on trade rules related to competition, intellectual property, government procurement, employment and environmental issues, according to Yu.