Organized by the Swiss Center Shanghai in collaboration with SwissCham and Swissnex, the Roundtable on Sino-Swiss Free Trade Agreement (SSFTA) on May 19th gathered a delegation of 32 from the Swiss business community and Shanghai government authorities together in dialogue. In attendance was Consul-General Alexander Hoffet, delegates from the Swiss Business Hub and representatives from 18 Swiss MNCs and SMEs spread across the machine tools, chemicals, medical device, food and beverage, and logistics sectors. Through open discussion, the main challenges that Swiss companies encounter with the SSFTA at the operational level were relayed to the officials present from Shanghai Customs, CIQ, the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone Administration Committee and the Waigaoqiao International Machine Tools Center.
The roundtable facilitated constructive dialogue and exchange of ideas on the SSFTA between the Swiss companies and Chinese authorities, who provided pertinent feedback on the most pressing problems Swiss businesses face with securing the preferential rates on qualified exports. At the roundtable, the delegates from both business and government agreed that the implementation process would benefit greatly from the upgrade of the agreement to cover more categories of Swiss exports, the further alignment of HS codes between the Swiss and Chinese customs, and solutions for shipments from distribution centers in Europe outside Switzerland to satisfy the proof of origin requirement as stipulated by the SSFTA.