China abolishes visa requirements for Switzerland

08 March 2024 08:00

SwissCham Hong Kong

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Beijing - Swiss nationals travelling to China will no longer require an entry visa with effect from March 14. Visa requirements are also being abolished for five other European countries. These measures are being rolled out as part of a trial period. It is hoped that this will help to boost trade and tourism.

With effect from March 14, Swiss nationals will be able to travel to China without a visa. The same changes also apply to five other countries, including Belgium, Luxembourg, the Republic of Ireland, Hungary and Austria. These measures were announced by Wang Li, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, on March 7, further details of which can be found in a press release issued by the Chinese government. At the end of 2023, China had already granted visa-free entry to Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands.

Visa-free stays in China are be limited to 15 days. The regulations are initially being introduced as part of a trial period. In return, Wang Yi hopes that more European countries will begin to offer visa facilitation for Chinese citizens, as he explains in the press release.

The Swiss Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong (SwissCham Hong Kong) welcomes the abolition of visa requirements. As the organization writes in a LinkedIn post, this step is of “immense significance” in terms of strengthening ties between Switzerland and China. The overall aim of this measure is to boost trade and tourism, in addition to cultural exchanges, between the two countries.

China and Switzerland resumed bilateral dialogue at the beginning of the year, with Li Qiang, Premier of the People’s Republic of China, visiting Bern in January for high-level talks. This summit was followed by Ignazio Cassis, Federal Councilor and Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, who arrived in China in February as part of a tour of the Asia-Pacific region. In addition to visa facilitation, the meetings also focused on updating the free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries. China is Switzerland’s third most important trading partner. ce/ssp

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