China, Switzerland Sign Cooperation Agreements
China and Switzerland signed a number of cooperation agreements covering various sectors on Friday which include science and technology, innovation, work safety, education, trade, and environment.
Reports said President Xi Jinping and Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann presided the signing ceremony of two memorandums of understanding (MOU) between Guangzhou and Chengdu and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation that will implement the two sides' low-carbon city construction projects.
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President Xi has tagged Ammann as "an old friend of the Chinese people" as he recalled his meeting with his him in June last year when the latter visited Beijing for the signing of the China-backed Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)
Innovative strategic partnership.
Reports said that the two nations declared an innovative strategic partnership that will boost their trade exchange and economic cooperation, and enhance their educational partnership in the coming years.
The two countries celebrated the 65th anniversary of their diplomatic ties last year and so far, trade between the two sides have grown exponentially.
"The daily trade volume is now 26 times what it was annually in the first years after we established diplomatic ties," Xi said.
Reports said China and Switzerland have enjoyed significant economic benefits over the years with trade volume between the two countries reaching $44.3 billion last year.
The Swiss nation is reportedly China's 7th largest trade partner in Europe.
Xi recalled the signing of the Sino-Swiss free trade agreement in 2014, saying it was China's first free trade pact with a European country.
"The free trade agreement with Switzerland set an example for Sino-European cooperation," Xi said.
Ammann said that his country would like to establish cooperation with China in the areas of environmental protection, science, finance, and education.
He also said Switzerland wants to get involved in China's "Belt and Road" initiative and participate in the newly-established infrastructure bank, the AIIB.
Ammann arrived in Beijing on Thursday for a state visit and held talks with Premier Li Keqiang and other Chinese government officials before meeting with President Xi.
Wang Shunqing, a top level diplomat of China's Foreign Ministry, said the meeting has been "significant" and "marks a new era" for the two countries.