Official working visit by Chinese Vice Premier LI Keqiang

Bern, Press release, 26.01.2010

The Vice Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, LI Keqiang, today opened celebrations for the ‘60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and China’ with an official working visit. He was received at the Lohn Country Residence in Kehrsatz by President Doris Leuthard, head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs (FDEA), and Federal Councillor Micheline Calmy-Rey, head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). The talks addressed bilateral relations in general, economic relations, political dialogue as well as the financial crisis.

Almost 60 years ago, on 17 January 1950, Switzerland was among the first western countries to recognise the government of the People's Republic of China. A few months later, on 14 September, diplomatic relations were established. Now, in the anniversary year, numerous important developments in bilateral relations between Switzerland and China are on the horizon.

  • In February, the first meeting of the commission preparing the joint feasibility study on a free trade agreement between Switzerland and China will take place in Beijing. The study is expected to be completed before the end of the year
  • In the spring, the revised Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement (ISA), which Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard and Trade Minister CHEN Deming signed in January 2009, is to be approved by parliament and enter into force in the course of the year.
  • The political dialogue officially initiated in September 2007 by Micheline Calmy-Rey and the Chinese Foreign Minister YANG Jiechi is to be resumed this year in order to intensify and improve the structure of bilateral relations.
  • The 11th round of the human rights dialogue with China, which Switzerland has been engaged in since 1991, is expected to take place in 2010.
  • Several high-ranking visits and cultural events will mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and China. Federal Councillor Micheline Calmy-Rey will launch the Swiss Exhibition Tour on Albert Einstein in Beijing at the end of May and President Doris Leuthard will open the Swiss Nations Day at the Expo 2010 in Shanghai.

In addition to the subject of bilateral relations, discussions focussed on the global economic situation, cooperation in the fields of science and technology as well as international and multilateral policy issues. Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang, who is on his first official mission to Switzerland, will be travelling on to the WEF Annual Meeting in Davos on Wednesday.


Address for enquiries:

Evelyn Kobelt, FDEA press spokesperson, tel. +41 79 301 71 72


Publisher:

Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research
Federal Department of Foreign Affairs