An Exclusive Interview with the Chairman of the Governing Board of the Swiss National Bank Dr. Thomas J. Jordan

(EurAsiaInfo Irene ZHU and Dechun ZHANG) Chinese President Xi Jinping’s four-day visit to Switzerland and his address at the 2017 World Economic Forum (WEF) have shown the world Chinese wisdom and confidence against the backdrop of a sluggish global economy and rising anti-globalization sentiment.Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters on Thursday.

While addressing the opening plenary of the 2017 annual meeting of the WEF at Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday, Xi called for joint efforts to shoulder the responsibility of the times and promote world development, Wang said.

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▲The Chairman of the Swiss National Bank (SNB) Dr. Thomas J. Jordan. Photo by EurAsia info

Faced with the opportunities and challenges brought by economic globalization, the right choice is to use all opportunities and cooperate to cope with all challenges and guide the trend of economic globalization. EurAsia Info interviews the Chairman of the Swiss National Bank (SNB) Dr. Thomas J. Jordan on the issues of how will President Xi’s visit impact China and Switzerland on the economic.

Thomas J. Jordan was born in 1963, in the city of Biel/Bienne. He is a Swiss economist, the chairman of the governing board of the Swiss National Bank, chairman of the Central Bank Counterfeit Deterrence Group, a member of the board of directors of the Bank for International Settlements and a member of the steering committee of the Financial Stability Board.

Jordan joined the Swiss National Bank as an economic advisor in 1997 and progressed through various roles. He joined the governing board as an alternate member in 2004 and became a full member in 2007. He was appointed chairman on 18 April 2012, following the resignation of Philipp Hildebrand from that role.

EurAsia Info: In Feb 2016, you came to Shanghai to attend G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting. In which areas have you been impressed by China?

Thomas Jordan: I have been to China several times before and I have always been most impressed by the hospitality of the Chinese people, by the dynamic nature of China’s economy and by the beauty of its countryside.

EurAsia Info: What do China and Switzerland already have in place in the area of economic cooperation? What did they achieve?

Thomas Jordan: The economic cooperation between our two countries is very close. A very good example of this is the free trade agreement which was signed between China and Switzerland in 2013 and which came into force in mid-2014.

There are also close co-operations in financial matters. Today, we have a Renminbi clearing center, the “Renminbi hub”, in Switzerland. To lay the groundwork for the Renminbi hub, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) and the People’s Bank of China (PBC) concluded a Renminbi/Swiss franc swap agreement.

Governor Zhou and I could sign this agreement in Beijing in July 2014. In January 2015, the PBC and the SNB signed the associated Memorandum of Understanding on Renminbi clearing arrangements, which became effective in November 2015, when the PBC authorized the China Construction Bank (CCB) to clear RMB payments in Switzerland.

As you can imagine, there were many bilateral meetings at all levels with our Chinese colleagues during the negotiation process. This was very beneficial in fostering a deep mutual understanding of our two cultures.

EurAsia Info: China ‘s central bank has authorized the China Foreign Exchange Trade Center to carry out the RMB direct trade against the Swiss franc. This means that the Swiss franc become the seventh major currency that can be traded directly with the RMB without the exchange through US dollars. What is your opinion on this topic and which positive role does it play in the cooperation between China and Switzerland?

Thomas Jordan: The direct trading between the two currencies reduces the cost of cross-border transactions between our two countries. Although official agreements are negotiated by the authorities, their main objective is to facilitate trade and investment by the private sector. Therefore, it is now time for firms and private individuals to seize the new opportunities created by the steps already taken.

EurAsia Info: Will this World Economic Forum have a positive influence on the cooperation of China and Switzerland? How will this year’s WEF influence the relations between China and Switzerland?

Thomas Jordan: I think that the state visit of the Chinese president, Mr. Xi Jinping, to Switzerland and his prominent participation at the WEF in Davos can be considered as something of a crowning event on top of what has been achieved to date. Our cooperation is expected to continue and it will certainly make the links between our two countries even stronger.

EurAsia Info: Many thanks to Dr.Thomas Jordan for having accepted our interview!

瑞士央行(SNB)董事会总裁兼董事长托马斯-乔丹(Thomas Jordan)

▲The Chairman of the Swiss National Bank (SNB) Dr. Thomas J. Jordan. Photo by EurAsia info

EurAsia Info: Switzerland is a nation with a strong innovative spirit and China is also promoting innovation as a national strategy.

The two governments signed a new Memorandum of Understanding on setting up a dialogue platform between the two countries on innovation strategies which would work as a new cooperative mechanism to supervise and coordinate the progress of innovation cooperation in all fields.

The two leaders also agreed to strengthen the alignment of “Made in China 2025” and “Switzerland and Industry 4.0” strategies and work on closer innovative cooperation between research institutes, entrepreneurs and especially small and medium-sized enterprises.

The free trade agreement (FTA) between China and Switzerland, which entered into force in 2014 as the first between China and a European nation, has become the locomotive to increase quality and efficiency of pragmatic cooperation.

During Xi’s visit, the two sides agreed to start joint research on upgrading the FTA and to begin talks on it as early as possible.

The two sides are committed to expanding cooperations in trade, investment, finance, insurance, environmental protection and customs, while jointly promoting the Belt and Road Initiative through multilateral platforms like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

▲Photos:The Chairman of the Swiss National Bank (SNB) Dr. Thomas J. Jordan. Photo by EurAsia info

By EurAsia Info Irene ZHU and Dechun ZHANG

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