The national pavilion, with the unique concept of a "LiveMap" especially designed for the CIIE, was revealed to the media at a press conference on Tuesday at the National Exhibition and Convention Center Shanghai. Mrs. Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, Secretary of State for Economic Affairs (SECO), and Swiss Ambassador to China Dr. Jean-Jacques de Dardel who are leading a high-level Swiss delegation to the trade fair, attended the media event. With a mandate from the Swiss Confederation, the Swiss Business Hub China (SBH) of the Embassy of Switzerland in China and Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE) are managing the pavilion during the CIIE from 5 to 10 November.
The Swiss National Pavilion, located in Hall 5.2 - C15, is of 2-storeys high and 136m2 (ground floor) and comprises three parts. Its distinctive features and the walkable aerial “LiveMap” offer visitors the opportunity to visit Switzerland in virtual reality and physical space. Visitors cannot only enjoy basic geographic icons, tourist destinations, cultural and traditional symbols and commercial innovation features but can also experience Swiss culinary specialities while using the map.
In addition, other Swiss companies and partners at the pavilion are demonstrating their latest products and services with a number of interactive events and designs. In the ‘relaxation zone’ in the back of the chalet, visitors can rest in a natural environment that resembles a Swiss alpine meadow and relish the unique sensory experience in Swiss nature.
“Ranking No. 1 in innovation for 8 years in a row, Switzerland is driven by innovation. As a global leader in this area and taking advantage of our excellent and longstanding relationship with China, Switzerland and Swiss companies look forward to promoting and cooperate on cutting edge technologies, services and products in cleantech, mechanical and electrical industry, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, watches, information and communication technologies, finance/fintech so as logistics,” said Secretary of State Ineichen-Fleisch, noting Switzerland’s strong presence at the expo.
In addition to the national pavilion, almost 50 other Swiss companies are showcasing their products, services and innovation prowess at their own booths within the commercial area of the CIIE.
Swiss Ambassador to China Dr. Jean-Jacques de Dardel hopes that with the expo Chinese visitors and companies could get to know Switzerland better and go beyond the stereotype images of Switzerland.
“As an open economy and innovative country, Switzerland has been working intensely with China on various fronts, economy in particular, that is why such a big number of Swiss companies are present at the expo. Our presence here also shows our common commitment to free and rule-based international trade," said Ambassador de Dardel. “In addition to the well-known products from Switzerland, we have more to offer. Our machine tools, equipment and services enable the Chinese economy to perform and get better. In a globalized world, Switzerland leads lots of industries especially those with niche markets with our innovative capacities and craftsmanship. CIIE could be the platform to further connect Switzerland and China. We hope to establish links among industries and businesses from both countries, to engage with more stakeholders, thus to further elevate our bilateral ties."
Burgeoning Sino-Swiss economic relations
Since 2010, China has been Switzerland's most important trading partner in Asia. The Sino-Swiss free trade agreement (FTA) was signed in July 2013 and came into effect one year later, making Switzerland the first continental European country to do so. In 2017, the volume of trade amounted to CHF 37 billion (including trade in precious metals), exceeded only by trade with the EU and the USA. In addition to precious metals, Switzerland primarily exports pharmaceutical products, machinery and watches to China, while it also imports machinery, as well as electronic and textiles.
With foreign direct investment capital stocks amounting to over CHF 21 billion, China is also the leading investment location for Swiss firms in Asia. The legal framework for mutual trade and investment is assured by agreements on the avoidance of double taxation, investment protection, and, since 2014, by the FTA. In 2016, Switzerland and China established Innovative Strategic Partnership, with the expectations to advance bilateral relations in various fields.
At the press event, State Secretary Ineichen-Fleisch also lauded the FTA and noted that Switzerland and China are working together to further improve the agreement. “This agreement has been a success: an academic study led by Swiss and Chinese academics showed that past year (2017) it created over 100 million CHF savings for both Swiss and Chinese exporters.”