Switzerland gets the edge on EU with China trade deal
Published on Jul 6, 2014 3:01 PM
BASEL, Switzerland (AFP) - Switzerland has one-upped its European Union neighbours with a free trade deal with China that its politicians and business sector say is crucial to boosting ties with the world's second-largest economy.
The free trade agreement (FTA), in force since Tuesday, is China's first with a mainland European country and was sealed in 2013 after two years of talks.
"We look to the huge Chinese market, but on the other side, China will find in Switzerland partners on a top technology level and a top innovation level," said Economy Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann, as he marked the start of the FTA with Chinese officials in Basel.
The deal will cut red tape and tariffs on Swiss farm and industrial exports to China, giving them access to the country's 1.4 billion increasingly wealthy consumers.
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