Sino-Swiss Business News
Jacques de Watteville, Switzerland’s Ambassador to China, said good progress has been made in FTA talks, and the country could become the first in Europe to have a free trade agreement with China. Negotiators from Beijing and Bern have already finished the lion’s share of the FTA draft with food and agriculture still being the thorny issues on which an agreement has not been reached. Switzerland is trying to protect the sector, as it is a net importer of agricultural products.
Air China and Genève Aéroport have the pleasure to confirm the launching of a new Geneva-Beijing direct route for Summer 2013, starting on 7th May. This nonstop service will be operated 4 days per week (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday) with an Airbus A330-200 configurated in 2 classes.
On 22nd January, 2013 the Groundbreaking Ceremony of the Sino-Swiss Zhenjiang Ecological Industry Park (SSZEIP) has been celebrated in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu Province. This bilateral initiative shall foster economic ties between Switzerland and China based on a more sustainable and environmental friendly development approach. The ceremony with speeches by the Swiss Ambassador, representatives of the MOFCOM, Zhenjiang and Cleantech Switzerland was followed by more than 300 invited guests, amongst them 15 interested Swiss company representatives.
Switzerland-based Nestle SA has introduced a protein powder into China’s health-food market. Known as Nestle Yiyang Protein Powder, the new product was launched in Beijing on 21st January. It will also be sold in Hangzhou, Nanjing, Qingdao, Shanghai, Tianjin, and Xi’an – metropolitan hubs where healthy and light foods sell best as residents have higher incomes and are more health conscious. The State Food and Drug Administration stated that the Chinese health-food industry had revenues of RMB 105 billion (USD 16.9 billion) in 2011, as well as annual increases of over 11% over the past five years.
Geneva-based luxury goods group Richemont and the world’s largest jewellery chain, Chinese Chow Tai Fook, have agreed to create a joint venture, reported the Swiss newspaper Le Temps. Citing a source inside Richemont, the newspaper said in an online report on Saturday that the two luxury brands would each control 50% of the new company, which would distribute watches made by Richemont luxury watchmaking brand Baume & Mercier in mainland China. The Chinese company already distributes a long line of Swiss brands, several of them owned by Richemont, including Cartier, Piaget and Jaeger-LeCoultre. No financial details of the deal were revealed.
Pilatus, the aircraft manufacturer from Stans (NW), wants to sell its propeller plane also in China in the future. The Swiss company is negotiating with a Chinese partner over a Joint venture contract, but there is still no signed agreement at present, according to the President of the Board of Directors Oscar J. Schwenk. The aircraft manufacturer wants to set its Pilatus Porter PC-6 and the turbo propulsion machine PC-12 on the Chinese market. The military training planes PC-21, PC-9 M and PC-7 MkII are explicitly not involved in the negotiations.
On 9th January 2013, the Swiss Federal Council approved the Report on foreign economic policy in 2012. According to the revised trade statistics, the term “country of origin” is now determining. This appreciation brings significant changes to some countries’ commercial balance. Thus in 2011, the volume of imports from China to Switzerland grew from CHF 6.3 billion to CHF 9.6 billion (+3.3 billion). According to the new rule, the trade balance of Switzerland to Mainland China in 2011 presents a deficit of CHF 0.9 billion instead of an surplus of CHF 2.5 billion.
China’s Ministry of Economy has recently updated the list of goods, which require licenses for import and export in 2013. For the moment, this list is only available in Chinese. However, the products can be determined according to the first six numbers of the Harmonized Customs System.
Travelers from 45 countries can now benefit from a 72-hour visa-free stay policy in Beijing and Shanghai, a move that could attract more transit visitors. Tourists holding third country visas and plane tickets can now apply for a transit without visa at Beijing’s international airport and at Shanghai’s Pudong and Hongqiao airports. Foreign visitors are not permitted to leave to other Chinese cities during the 72 hours, and have to depart from the same city.
On November 23, Victoria University’s Graduation Ceremony was held in Hong Kong. There were 921 graduates this year which from Switzerland, China, Netherlands, Prague, Malaysia, Singapore, Dubai, Egypt etc. In accordance with tradition, the graduation ceremony was opened by a musical performance of a local Scottish bagpipe band. The music played was of Scottish origin and was full of glory suitable for the occasion. The official part of the program started with a speech by the Dean of the school, Dr. El Namaki. He spoke about changes graduates had to face in recent years. Dr. El Namaki encouraged the graduates to prepare themselves to this changing environment. The next speaker was Dr. Dai Xulong, the President of the school. He congratulated all students in Mandarin and English. He also spoke about the future of the school. He pointed out some of the major changes Victoria University is facing e.g. some good news.