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Full text of Premier Li's signed article in Swiss newspaper

2013-05-24 10:37 Xinhua     Web Editor: Mo Hong'e comment

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang published on Thursday a signed article titled "Why Switzerland?" in Neue Zuricher Zeitung, a German-language Swiss daily ahead of his visit to the European country.

The following is the full text of the English translation of the article:

Switzerland is the first European destination on the list of countries I will visit after becoming China's premier. In Chinese culture, being "first" always carries symbolic meaning. My choice of Switzerland is in no way haphazard: we have got a few important things to do here. They are all landmark events in China's opening-up, and they all have something to do with Switzerland.

The first job is to secure progress in the building of China-Switzerland FTA. It was during my last visit in 2010 that the two countries agreed to speed up preparations for an FTA. Over the past three years and more, the relevant departments and agencies of the two countries have worked energetically in the negotiations, and reached the final conclusion after nine rounds of talks. With the advent of FTA, Switzerland will become the first country in continental Europe and the first of the world's top 20 economies to reach an FTA with China, the implications of which will be significant.

Last year, two-way trade reached 26.3 billion U.S. dollars, including 22.8 billion dollars of Swiss exports to China. That is to say, every Swiss man, woman and child exported 2,800 dollars to China. To conclude this high-quality FTA agreement with Switzerland, China has made tremendous effort. It fully demonstrates that China will not stall in its opening-up and that it is firmly committed to upholding the multilateral trading regime, vigorously promoting regional trade liberalization, and accelerating the implementation of the FTA strategy. Moreover, a high-quality FTA agreement between China and Switzerland will also set a good example. It will not only upgrade our business and investment cooperation but also send a powerful message to the rest of the world that we reject trade and investment protectionism and instead embrace trade liberalization and facilitation. It will inject fresh impetus into China-EU business ties, bring tangible benefits to consumers and businesses in both our countries, and contribute to world trade and economic recovery.

The second job is to step up financial exchanges and cooperation between the two sides. Switzerland boasts the highest density of banks. It has a strong financial industry and rich regulatory experience. Enhancing cooperation with Switzerland in financial regulation, macroeconomic policy making, capital market development and other areas is consistent with China's need for further development of its open economy. China is introducing more reform and opening-up to its financial sector, including steadily advancing market-oriented reform of the interest rate, making RMB convertible under the capital account, putting in place a system of overseas investment by individual investors, and improving financial regulatory regime. All this will provide new opportunities for interactions and growth of our financial firms. At the same time, China and Switzerland can work together at the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other international financial institutions, so as to make greater contribution to maintaining international financial stability and promoting world economic growth.

The third job is to enhance mutual trust and understanding. How high we can go in developing our relations and our practical cooperation hinges on our ability to seize new opportunities, and more importantly, on whether or not we can reach a higher level of mutual trust and understanding. Switzerland is among the first Western countries to have established diplomatic relations with New China. The very first industrial joint venture China entered into after the beginning of reform and opening up was one with Switzerland. Switzerland is also one of the first group of European countries that recognize China's market economy status. All these constitute the basis of our mutual trust. But to go still higher, we need to do a lot more. I hope my visit here will not only deepen the understanding and trust at the leadership level, but also increase the awareness and recognition at the public level of our respective countries, thus planting more seeds of friendship for exchanges between the two peoples.

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