GENEVA — Premier Li Keqiang’s upcoming presence at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and visit to Switzerland will promote ties to a new level, Xu Jinghu, the Chinese ambassador to Switzerland, told Xinhua in a recent interview.
Premier Li will pay his second visit to Switzerland since taking office, highlighting the great importance China attaches to the development of bilateral relations, Xu said.
During the visit, the Chinese premier will hold bilateral talks with President of the Swiss Confederation Simonetta Sommaruga.
The two leaders will exchange views on bilateral ties and regional issues of common concern, and outline the road maps for future development of bilateral relations.
The two sides aim to reach important consensuses within areas of finance, trade, scientific research, food and pharmaceutical industry, and announce a new series of cooperation initiatives.
Xu said that in recent years the two countries have been maintaining high-level friendly cooperative relations, with frequent official exchanges and deepened cooperation in various fields.
Switzerland has became China’s first free trade partner in the world’s 20 leading economies and Europe since the Sino-Swiss Free Trade Agreement (FTA) came into effect in July 2014.
Xu added China is Switzerland’s largest trade partner in Asia over the past years, while Switzerland ranks as China’s fifth largest trade partner in Europe.
According to statistics, bilateral trade rose steadily and trade structure further optimized in recent years. From January to November 2014, bilateral trade volume reached $38.86 billion. At the same time, two-way investment has become a new growth point in Sino-Swiss economic and trade cooperation, she said.
With the rapid development of bilateral relations, the two countries have also witnessed growing social and cultural exchanges, Xu said, with interest for China and the Chinese language continuing to increase in Switzerland.
“Sino-Swiss relations are standing at a new starting point, facing new opportunities for development,” she highlighted.
Xu said Premier Li’s visit is a prelude for 65 anniversary of establishment of Sino-Swiss diplomatic relations, will play an important role in consolidating the traditional friendship, enhancing mutual understanding and political trust, as well as raising the levels of pragmatic cooperation between the two countries.
The Premier will attend the 45th annual meeting of the WEF and pay a working visit to Switzerland from Jan 20 to 22.