Swiss watchmaking and SECO sign a memorandum of understanding with their Chinese counterparts

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May 2013

Under the terms of the Trade Agreement between the Swiss Confederation and the People’s Republic of China of 20 December 1974, a watchmaking memorandum of understanding was signed on 24 May 2013.

This memorandum introduces an additional platform for discussions and cooperation with a view to improving the framework for trade between Switzerland and China in the field of watchmaking. During the visit to Switzerland by the Chinese Prime Minister Li Kequiang on 24 May 2013, the FH and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) signed a memorandum of agreement with the China Horologe Association and the Chinese Minister for Industry and Information Technologies. The aim of this watchmaking memorandum is to create a quadripartite working group under the auspices of the Joint Bilateral Economic Commission established by the 1974 trade agreement. The signature of this memorandum also further paves the way for the free trade agreement between Switzerland and China, which will be signed in the coming months.

Like other similar groups, the watchmaking working group will serve as a forum for exchanges and cooperation between the parties. Its main aim will be to encourage the development of trade relations, protect intellectual property rights and indications of origin, particularly Swiss made, carry on the fight against counterfeiting and exchange feedback. The working group will be able to examine concrete problems facing players in the sector, both in Switzerland and in China, and to issue similarly concrete proposals with a view to their resolution. The working group is expected to meet at least once a year, in principle to coincide with the meeting of the joint bilateral commission.

The importance of the Chinese market for Swiss watches goes without saying, and the FH therefore felt it worthwhile to be involved in setting up this working group. In practice, the latter will provide an additional platform in which experts can better promote the interests of the Swiss watch industry. The FH applauds the formation of such a working group with one of the industry’s main trading partners.

Source: Federation of the Swiss Watchmaking Industry (FH)