Joint declaration of the People’s Republic of China and the Swiss Confederation on the establishment of an innovative strategic partnership

At the invitation of the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, the President of the Swiss Confederation, Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, made a state visit to China from 7 to 9 April 2016.

The two men discussed bilateral relations, cooperation in different areas and international and regional matters of mutual interest, and were in agreement in many areas.

They agreed that thanks to joint efforts relations between the two countries have made great progress since Switzerland and China established bilateral relations on 14 September 1950. Mutual political trust has been steadily built and cooperation in areas such as politics, economy, trade, finance, science and culture has been continuously intensified. As bilateral relations have grown, the two countries have jointly developed a Swiss-Chinese spirit of cooperation marked by ‘equality, innovation and win-win cooperation’.


The memorandum of understanding to promote cooperation concluded in 2007 was an important step in this respect. The two countries are currently engaged in 20 bilateral dialogue processes covering a broad range of topics. The conclusion and entry into force of the free trade agreement are additional milestones in the deepening and expansion of bilateral relations. The quality of bilateral relations between Switzerland and China also serves as a model for promoting Chinese-European cooperation.

As there is still enormous potential for deepening cooperation between Switzerland and China, both countries will continue to work to strengthen cooperation in pioneering and innovative ways. Because this is in the fundamental interest of both countries and their peoples and has long-term strategic significance for their development and prosperity, the two sides have decided to place their relations under the banner of an ‘innovative strategic partnership’.

With this ‘innovative strategic partnership’ Switzerland and China recognise the diversity, intensity and significance of their bilateral relations at this historical juncture.

The development of these relations is marked by an innovative pioneering spirit. With this in mind, it is in the strategic interest of both states to safeguard their bilateral relations over the long term and to develop them further by means of a strategic, partnership-based approach and on the basis of mutual respect and equality.

To this end, Switzerland and China have agreed to take the following measures:

Ia. Both sides agree to further increase the number of high-level exchanges between the two countries. As regards bilateral, international and regional matters of common interest, Switzerland and China will remain in constant contact to broaden consensus and to strengthen and build mutual political trust.


AI.Both sides will deepen their understanding of the other country’s developmental path and will take its core interests into consideration. The Chinese side notes with appreciation Switzerland’s policy of neutrality, which enables it to offer its good offices in international crises. The Swiss side reaffirms and will continue to pursue the one-China policy.


BI.The free trade agreement that has been in force since July 2014 has brought Swiss-Chinese trade and economic relations to a new level. Both sides welcome the fact that bilateral relations have grown from strength to strength since then. China and Switzerland will continue to take advantage of the well-functioning cooperation between the authorities of both countries in customs and other matters in order to further simplify the application of trade benefits, and will also employ the joint committee set up under the free trade agreement to further deepen the agreement.


IV. Bilateral cooperation in the financial sector will be consistently further developed. Both sides support the expansion of the offshore renminbi market in Zurich and will step up cooperation in the financial sector. In this context, additional exchange formats are to be established. Cooperation in the training of highly qualified financial management and regulation experts will be strengthened.


V. Already in 1989, Switzerland and China concluded an agreement on scientific and technological cooperation. Since then, relations across the science and technology sector –from basic research to innovation – have evolved significantly and reached a higher level. A Sino-Swiss Joint Working Group, which meets on a regular basis, was established to periodically assess exchanges in this sector. This dialogue can serve as a platform to link China’s innovation-driven development strategy with the Swiss advantage in the area of innovation. This should make it possible to jointly strengthen innovative capacity and to support and actively advance innovation cooperation among companies, higher education institutions and research institutions in both countries.


VI. Both sides applaud the existing close cooperation in the areas of energy efficiency and environmental protection. They also aim to cooperate in related areas, including the fight against air pollution, low-carbon urban development, green economy, energy efficiency and renewable energies. The two countries will also continue to work together in the field of sustainable development.


VII. Socio-cultural exchanges will continue in a variety of ways. People-to-people contacts between the two countries will be further strengthened through collaboration in the fields of culture, education, tourism, health, sport and youth. Switzerland reaffirms its support for China’s hosting of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.


VIII. The two sides agree to intensify exchanges on human rights issues and to make progress together in a spirit of equality and mutual respect.


IX. With a view to the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative and within the framework of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the two sides intend to step up their cooperation with one another and with third countries in the area of infrastructure development.


X.The Swiss side supports China’s chairmanship of the G20 Summit 2016 in Hangzhou. China has already invited Switzerland to the corresponding events and welcomes the positive and constructive role played by Switzerland in the G20’s financial segment and the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group.


XI.Exchange and cooperation in regional and international organisations such as the UN, the IMF and the WTO will be strengthened in order to jointly safeguard and advance regional and international prosperity and stability.


XII.The two countries hold regular exchanges on regional matters and intend to further develop cooperation in this area. The two sides appreciate the Cooperation between China and the Eastern European Countries (16+1) and believe it provides a positive impetus for the development of Chinese-European relations. China welcomes Switzerland’s participation as an observer in China’s Cooperation with the Eastern European Countries.


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