Chinese President Xi Jinping received Swiss President Ueli Maurer for a state visit Monday.
Both sides acknowledged the good bilateral relations between the two countries. The official talks focused on ways of further developing the very good relationship between Switzerland and China, economic and financial policy matters, and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) focusing on financial and economic matters related to the BRI was signed. The aim is for both countries to expand cooperation on trade, investment and finance for projects in third countries along the routes of the BRI. Cooperation will be based on five key principles: private capital for private projects, sustainable handling of debt, consideration of social impacts, environmental protection criteria and transparency. The MoU contains a catalogue of basic principles for cooperation in line with international standards and legislation in the countries concerned and consistent with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The MoU will provide support to a variety of cooperation platforms. It aims to facilitate forums and working groups for businesses that wish to exchange project information, identify shared interests and facilitate cooperation between businesses from Switzerland and China in third markets. In order to improve the general conditions in which private cooperation takes place, it is planned to establish a working group involving the authorities concerned.
They are also encouraging initiatives to create a "BRI Competence-Building Platform" in Switzerland for the stakeholders from China and countries in which BRI-related projects are carried out.
Maurer highlighted the opportunities presented by the BRI in terms of economic development and the fight against poverty and peace.
The Swiss delegation advocated that disputes on trade should be resolved in a multilateral framework. With a view to the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing, the two sides discussed cooperation between Switzerland and China in winter sports.
In March, Italy became the first European power to join the BRI.