Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin to travel to China with a business and science delegation

- EN - FR
Bern, 25.06.2024 - The head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, will lead a business and science mission to China from 1 to 5 July. The continuation of good cooperation in these areas is an important goal of the visit, not least with a view to further developing the bilateral free trade agreement that entered into force ten years ago.

Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin will pay a visit to China from 1 to 5 July accompanied by a business and a science delegation. His mission will take him to Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. The representatives from Switzerland’s business community and its education, research and innovation institutions travelling with him will have access to Chinese decisionmakers and be able to foster connections. Switzerland and China maintain close relations in the fields of business and science.

Leading trade partner in Asia

China is Switzerland’s third most important trading partner worldwide, with a bilateral trade volume of CHF 59 billion (excluding precious metals CHF 33 billion). Switzerland is the first country in continental Europe to have a bilateral free trade agreement with China. The agreement came into force on 1 July 2014. The focus of the official ministerial meeting will therefore be on modernising it to take account of the changes that have taken place over the past ten years.

In addition to the ministerial meetings, the exchange with Swiss and Chinese companies on the ground is a key element of the trip. The delegation will be able to gain a valuable insight into the opportunities and challenges of doing business in China at a variety of events such as the Sino-Swiss Economic Forum, a roundtable in Beijing, a reception for Swiss business people in Shanghai and various company visits.

Cooperation in the field of education and research

Scientific cooperation between Switzerland and China is based on a bilateral agreement that the two countries concluded in 1989. As part of this mission, two joint committee meetings will take place in Beijing on Monday, 1 July, under the lead of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation. The joint working group set up under the Sino-Swiss programme on science and technology cooperation will meet for the ninth time, and the mixed working group responsible for higher education and vocational education and training will hold its fifth meeting. These meetings serve as a platform for exchanging information and networking in the field of education, research and innovation. Among other things, they will also discuss current challenges, in particular in connection with data protection. Contacts between the two countries are also supported by Swissnex, the worldwide Swiss network that connects Switzerland with the rest of the world in the fields of education, research and innovation, and which has had a presence in Shanghai since 2008. To round off the trip, Federal Councillor Parmelin and the science delegation will visit Hong Kong Baptist University.