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Landmark Swiss-China free-trade deal comes into force

Then-Swiss Federal President Ueli Maurer (L) talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on July 18, 2013A watershed free-trade deal between China and Switzerland came into force on Tuesday, the first such accord between the Asian giant and a mainland European economy. Marking the start of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), Swiss Economy Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann and Chinese trade envoy Yu Jianhua presided over a ceremony in the northern city of Basel. “I am convinced that both sides will benefit from this agreement,” he added, noting that Swiss industrial and farm goods would benefit from Chinese tariff cuts, while China’s industrial products would have duty-free access to Switzerland. The deal also bolsters intellectual property protection for Swiss goods — a persistent concern for Western firms on the Chinese market, though Beijing has stepped up its battle against the pirates.

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