Switzerland, why?

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Source: wechat official account: Bu Yidao has been authorized to reprint

Pen / Sword smile & Sister Daodao

Is the negotiation between Switzerland and China on upgrading the free trade agreement “stalled” because China is “not positive”?

Several Swiss media “broke” this news almost at the same time in the past two days.

The report did not mention the official explanation, but quoted the so-called “expert” analysis, saying that it was because Switzerland’s successive smear campaigns against China on human rights issues caused China’s dissatisfaction.

After such an operation, there was a familiar flavor of “China is engaging in economic coercion”.


The Swiss government has always hoped to update and upgrade the free trade agreement with China.

The agreement was negotiated in 2011 and formally implemented in 2014. At that time, it was the first similar document between China and European countries.


Subsequently, Switzerland continued to benefit from the momentum of China’s reform and opening up and economic development since the late 1970s, and the economic and trade ties between the two countries continued to deepen. Today, China has become Switzerland’s third largest trading partner.

Now, Switzerland wants to reduce tariffs on more Swiss goods in the upgraded agreement and introduce “sustainable development” provisions. However, according to the Swiss National Economic Affairs Secretariat to the media, the relevant negotiations have made slow progress in the past few years, “Beijing’s attitude is not very positive”.


Only from the report, the information disclosed by the “official” of Switzerland ends here. Then it’s the media’s turn to “perform”.

The Sunday edition of the Swiss “new Zurich” took “China’s impasse” as the title, “Lenovo” recalled that Switzerland has increased its “criticism” of China’s human rights issues in the past three years. When reprinted by Reuters and other US and European media, most of them also highlighted the meaning of “China therefore refuses to update the free trade agreement”.

It has to be said that this wave of operation between Swiss politicians and the media came at a “very good time”.

What time is the 29th? It was the day after the first visit to China by the United Nations High Commissioner for human rights in 17 years. Many anti China media in the West and even the US State Department are “questioning” and even accusing Ms. Bachelet of not taking a hard line stance on human rights issues.


This wave of domestic hype in Switzerland, coupled with the reprint and assistance of some other mainstream media in the United States and Europe, can not help but arouse people’s imagination: they are trying to add fuel to attacks against China by smearing the human rights issue.

But in fact, even the Swiss domestic economic circles do not approve of the government’s clamoring about the so-called human rights issue against China.

The head of economic policy of the Swiss Industry Association told the media bluntly that the constant targeting of China “will only lead to the breakdown of relations in the end”.

The spokesman of the Chinese foreign ministry also responded today to the hype of the US and European media about the China Switzerland free trade agreement.

There are two main meanings:

One is obviously to affirm the China Switzerland free trade agreement and its upgrading prospect.

The spokesman said that since the implementation of the agreement in 2014, it has brought huge and tangible benefits to the two countries and their peoples. The upgrading of the agreement is conducive to further exploring the potential of economic and trade cooperation between the two sides and promoting the economic recovery and development of the two countries under the epidemic situation.

Second, it emphasized the following words:

The China Switzerland free trade agreement is a mutually beneficial agreement, not a gift from one party to the other. In the spirit of mutual respect and equality, the two sides have always maintained close communication and actively negotiated on the upgrading of the free trade agreement. China is happy to see the free trade agreement upgraded. At the same time, it also hopes that Switzerland can eliminate human interference factors and go against China.

Focus on the point, “it is not a gift from one party to the other”, “I hope Switzerland can eliminate human interference factors”

Why did you say that? I’m afraid the Swiss media and even the government should be smacking.


Switzerland, in fact, has been trying to “seek balance” in its relations with China.

This is the public statement of the current president and then foreign minister cassis of Switzerland last November. He said, “on the one hand, we have had difficult discussions with China on human rights, but on the other hand, China is also an important partner in economic and other issues.”


Switzerland and China have held dialogues on human rights every year since 1991.

However, since 2019, Switzerland has repeatedly insisted on participating in Anti China joint speeches involving Xinjiang and Hong Kong at the Human Rights Council and the United Nations General Assembly, slandering China’s ethnic policy. The most basic premise for dialogue is mutual respect. It cannot be reduced to a platform for one country to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. Therefore, the human rights dialogue between Switzerland and China has been stagnant in the past three years.

Why 2019?

That year was the first year after the trump administration made major adjustments to its China policy.

In the U.S. national security strategy report, China is defined as the most important strategic competitor of the United States, and strategic competition is identified as the main means for the United States to handle relations with China. At that time, the trump administration launched a trade war with China and exerted pressure on China in all fields such as technology, diplomacy, security, politics and people to people and cultural exchanges.

Affected by this, some Swiss people engage in ideological confrontation. Some extreme non-governmental organizations took the opportunity to advocate that the Swiss government needs to take stronger measures to formulate “consistent human rights policies, especially linking the economy with the field of human rights”. Look, it has always been some people and organizations in Switzerland who have tied human rights to the economy and talked about human rights.


Some scholars believe that it is the obvious pressure from home and abroad that makes the Swiss government “take a tough stance” on issues related to Xinjiang and Hong Kong. The first “China strategy” document released by Switzerland last March is a concentrated reflection of this attitude.

Although the “China strategy” document affirmed the great achievements made in China’s economic development and regarded China as one of the key diplomatic countries, it also made groundless accusations and attacks on our human rights development.

Swiss jurist and sinologist Sheng Yalu bluntly pointed out that the “China strategy” document mentioned that China has “lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty” and made significant contributions to “global poverty reduction” over the past few decades. However, the document only regards these achievements as economic achievements and ignores the fact that they are also human rights achievements, that is, economic human rights achievements.

By the same token, Sheng Yalu said that the “China strategy” document recognizes that China’s “the Belt and Road” initiative is a “global oriented development model”. Isn’t the “the Belt and Road” initiative also a “global human rights project” aimed at promoting economic human rights and the right to development?

Even on the issue of human rights, Switzerland and China also have a lot of consensus.

From 2006 to 2009, Switzerland and China were both members of the United Nations Human Rights Council. During this period, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted 286 resolutions, of which 209 were adopted unanimously without a vote.

This once again shows that the Swiss people and organizations who attack China’s human rights do not understand China enough, so that there are prejudices and misunderstandings about China.


“Human rights dialogue and trade interests will be the two main topics of bilateral relations between Switzerland and China.”

Cassis, the current president and then foreign minister of Switzerland, introduced China policy in this way last year (2021-2024).

Switzerland and China have always had close trade relations.

Switzerland was one of the first western countries to recognize China and establish diplomatic relations, which laid a foundation for the development of bilateral trade relations.

As early as December 1974, before China’s reform and opening up, China signed the China Switzerland trade agreement with Switzerland. In 1979, the Swiss government granted China GSP treatment.

Since 2010, China has become the third largest trading partner of Switzerland after the European Union and the United States, and the largest trading partner in Asia.

Most importantly, the China Switzerland free trade agreement was signed in july2013 and came into force in july2014. This is the first bilateral free trade agreement signed between China and continental European countries.

It gives China a bridgehead to enter Europe and provides Swiss enterprises with competitive advantages.


Such mutual benefit has formed the main melody of the development of Switzerland China trade in the past few years.

Even the Swiss themselves can see a lot.

Some federal councillors firmly opposed that binding provisions should not be imposed in the “supplementary regulations to trade agreements”, because that would only “backfire”.

In fact, most of them can be carried clearly.

Because the bilateral trade volume between Switzerland and China is there.

In 2021, the bilateral trade volume between Switzerland and China increased by 96.7% year-on-year against the trend against the backdrop of the global epidemic continued to rage and international trade was under great downward pressure.

Facts have proved once again that win-win cooperation is the main tone of China Switzerland relations.

This is worth cherishing by the people of Switzerland and China.

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