Doris Leuthard

Switzerland-China pragmatic cooperation will be ushered into a new chapter, Swiss President Doris Leuthard said when commenting on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s upcoming state visit to her country.

Doris LeuthardXi’s trip verifies that China and Switzerland are good partners with increasingly close collaboration and a deepened mutual trust, Leuthard told the People’s Daily in an interview, adding that she feels honored to witness Xi’s forthcoming visit.

Leuthard lauded the substantial progress in Switzerland-China ties, saying that a host of fruits have been yielded since the two sides established diplomatic ties in 1950.

The strategic innovative partnership established by both nations in 2016 not only moves bilateral ties up the ladder, but demonstrates their confidence in bilateral cooperation, the president illustrated.

According to her statement, the sustained mutual trust between Berne and Beijing can be attributed to their mutual respect as well as equal-footed dialogues based on a cooperation spirit featuring innovation and win-win outcomes.

Despite rising trade and investment protectionism and increasing trade barriers around the world, Switzerland and China share a consensus on deepening global free trade, Leuthard stressed. She elaborated that the Switzerland-China free trade agreement, which went into effect in 2014, has significantly boosted two-way trade, bilateral investment and created more new jobs for both countries.

But the collaboration could still be better, the president admitted, adding that both sides will discuss on an all-round upgrade to the current free trade agreement during Xi’s stay in her country.

Leuthard said that innovation cooperation represents a highlight in the Switzerland-China relationship, and that both countries are willing to cement their cooperation in innovation so that they can move to the higher-end of the value chain.

The president also hailed China’s energy and climate undertakings, an agenda that has a bearing on the future for the whole world, explaining that China made important commitments at the UN Climate Change Conference held in Paris and contributed a lot to the final ratification of the Paris accord.

Switzerland and China can share expertise and work together in the research of clean energy, she added.

Leuthard also told the People’s Daily that during Xi’s Swiss visit, both countries will ink agreements on cultural cooperation and designate 2017 as a bilateral tourism year. Switzerland also expects more tourists from China after it simplifies visa procedures, and hopes to cooperate with China on winter tourism.

“Xi will deliver a speech at the Davos Forum, and I am eager to learn about his interpretation on China’s contribution to stabilizing the global economy,” Leuthard underlined.

She indicated that in light of the turbulent international landscape, China’s voice on the multilateral stage will showcase its capability in global governance and its role as a stabilizer of the world economy.

China, as a major country, is exerting more influence on international and regional affairs, and Switzerland is ready to play a propelling role in this process, the president pledged at last.

During Xi’s state visit to Switzerland from Sunday to Wednesday, he will attend the 47th World Economic Forum annual meeting, and visit the United Nations Office at Geneva and the World Health Organization, as well as the International Olympics Committee headquarters in Lausanne.

By Ren Yan, Wang Yuan from People’s Daily/

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