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Bilateral relations between Switzerland and the People's Republic of China date back to 1950 and have since steadily intensified.

by Chen Junxia and Martina Fuchs

MONTREUX, Switzerland, July 6 (Xinhua) -- Beyond the reestablishment of business ties in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, building cultural bridges between Switzerland and China is as important as ever, according to Felix Sutter, president of the Swiss-Chinese Chamber of Commerce (SCCC).

Sutter has been head of the SCCC since 2015 and a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Switzerland for 19 years. "We have over the last 30, 40 years woven a piece of fabric together. We have interconnections in the business processes, in the manufacturing processes, in logistics, in culture, everywhere. I think the most important thing to do right now is to listen and not to talk first," Sutter told Xinhua in an interview recently.

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Asked about his opinion of the Chinese economy, Sutter commented: "COVID, of course, doesn't really help the implementation of China's new five-year plan, but you can see that domestic consumption, the dual circulation strategy is very important."

China has set its economic growth target at around 5.5 percent in 2022 after the country's economy saw a strong rebound with 8.1 percent growth in 2021.

According to its website, the chamber aims at improving Sino-Swiss relations by promoting dialogue between companies, providing opportunities for business cooperation and enhancing cultural understanding.

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"But we also need cultural bridge-building. The economy is certainly important to make money. We all want to make money. But the cultural elements are crucial where we align ourselves with similar values," he said.

Bilateral relations between Switzerland and the People's Republic of China date back to 1950 and have since steadily intensified.

Since 2010, China has been Switzerland's most important trading partner in Asia and its third largest globally after the European Union (EU) and the United States. A bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), which Sutter described as an important milestone, was signed in Beijing in 2013 and entered into force on July 1, 2014.

The non-profit chamber was founded in 1980 by Dr. Uli Sigg, former Swiss ambassador to China, and a group of businessmen. Registered in Zurich, Switzerland, it now has more than 700 corporate and individual members, including major banks, trading companies, insurance companies and industrial companies.

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