China to play leading role for development of Swiss SMEs
Updated: 2016-03-16 02:00
Han Liming, then acting mayor of Nantong, meets Alexander Hoffet, consul general of the Swiss consulate in Shanghai, in mid-January. [Photo by Ding Congrong/China Daily]
GENEVA -- Swiss Union of Arts and Crafts (USAM) director Hans-Ulrich Bigler told Xinhua recently in an exclusive interview that China is playing an increasingly crucial role for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) based in Switzerland.
"We want to build favourable conditions for economic development. For instance, we worked very hard towards establishing the bilateral accord between Switzerland and China," said Bigler, whose union represents 99 percent of all businesses in the confederation.
"Since the free trade agreement came into force, I am pleased to notice that turnover has increased," he added.
The Sino-Swiss free trade agreement, considered to be a pivotal asset for Swiss businesses which are otherwise unable to physically access the Chinese market, was implemented in July 2014.
"Thanks to the agreement, we have recently opened a new market together with new opportunities which will benefit us in the coming years by creating new dynamics both on the economic and political front," Bigler continued.
China set this year's growth target in the range of 6.5 to 7 percent, following 6.9-percent economic growth in 2015. Though China's economy is expected to slow down, Bigler said that it is still sufficiently high to cater to Swiss needs.
Economic growth in Switzerland is forecast to reach 1.5 percent this year, up from 0.8 percent in 2015.
The Swiss director also highlighted the importance of branching out economic relations, since 70 percent of Swiss trade takes place with the European Union.