Researchers investigate free trade between Switzerland and China

11 October 2023 12:31

St.GallenBodenseeSwissCham Hong Kong

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St.Gallen/Beijing/Shanghai - Researchers from St.Gallen, Beijing and Shanghai have jointly investigated the impact of the free trade agreement that was signed between Switzerland and China 10 years ago. Their analysis shows significant savings, as well as untapped potential.

Researchers from the University of St.Gallen and University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, together with the Shanghai Customs College, have evaluated the effects of the Sino-Swiss Free Trade Agreement (SSFTA), which was signed in July 2013 and entered into force on July 1, 2014.

For the second time since 2018, the report looks at the impact of the SSFTA on the economy in Switzerland and China. According to a press release, the percentage of Swiss exporters making use of the SSFTA has risen from 13 per cent to 71 per cent over the past five years. As a result, they achieved effective savings of 220 million dollars in 2022, compared with 70 million dollars in 2018.

Products such as watches, coffee and coffee machines, pastries, confectionery and cheese are 100 per cent duty-free. The watch industry has made the biggest gains, with savings of over 130 million dollars, followed by the mechanical, electrical engineering and metals (MEM) industry, with savings of over 60 million dollars. Two-thirds of chocolate exports are also duty-free, and their volume has more than tripled over the past 10 years to over 3,000 tons per year, with a value of over 30 million Swiss francs. Exporters of pig’s feet and ears save around 1 million dollars each year.

Total duties that still have to be paid on Swiss products are estimated at 200 million dollars, which, according to the press release, is evidence of untapped potential. The proportion of Chinese importers that utilize the SSFTA remains stable at around 40 per cent. As a result, Chinese exporters and Swiss importers continue to pay over 400 million francs a year in customs duties. ce/mm


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