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China, Switzerland sign MOU on FTA

Updated: May 25,2013 10:55 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING -- Premier Li Keqiang and Swiss President Ueli Maurer have signed a memorandum of understanding to conclude talks over a bilateral free trade agreement during their meeting on May 25. The signing came as Premier Li continues on the third leg of his four nation tour.

The FTA still needs to be officially approved by both governments and the expectation is that it may be signed in the coming months. The two sides also announced the establishment of a financial dialogue mechanism. In the meeting, Premier Li said the FTA has a special significance, as the first to be signed between China and a country in continental Europe. In a speech delivered at a luncheon with business and financial leaders, Li stressed the FTA would expand trade ties between China and Switzerland.

But the premier criticized the European Union, of which Switzerland is not a member, for its recent trade measures against Chinese mobile telecommunications equipment and solar panel manufacturers. Li said that China is very much concerned about the EU’s decision to carry out anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations on those Chinese products.

The measures will not only cause damage to enterprises and employment in China, but also harm the interests of European users and consumers. The premier urged countries to maintain a stable and open international trade environment, and to solve trade frictions through dialogue and consultation.