With the witness of first tariff-free goods landed and left Swiss northwestern Rhine port of Basel,the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between China and Switzerland entered into force on Tuesday.
The FTA, signed in Beijing on July 6, 2013, after nine rounds of negotiations of more than two years, is the first free trade pact inked between China and a country in continental Europe.
China's ambassador to the World Trade Organization Yu Jianhua, Swiss Federal Councilor Johann Schneider-Ammann joined a celebrating ceremony held in the Rhine port in Basel, a place that best represents Switzerland's gateway to the world.
According to the FTA, as much as 99.7 percent of Chinese exports to Switzerland will be immediately exempted from tariffs, while 84.2 percent of Swiss exports to China will eventually receive zero tariffs.
The scope of tariff exemptions under the deal will cover 89 percent of Swiss exports to China and 92 percent of Chinese exports to Switzerland, and the scope of tariff reductions will exceed 96 percent of trade between the two countries.
"The vast majority of industrial and agricultural goods exported from Switzerland will enjoy tariff concession, some with immediate effect, some after a period of transition. This means that Swiss products will become considerably more competitive over the short and medium term," Schneider-Ammann told a press conference.
He stressed both sides will benefit from this agreement, as it will help to create and secure jobs in both countries.
"In return, Chinese industrial products will have duty-free access to the Swiss market," he said.
"Switzerland is looking for big market, while China is looking for the quality of economy, this is the perfect combination of big market and good quality," said ambassador Yu, who also served as the chief negotiator for FTA negotiations.
Director General of Swiss Customs Rudolf Dietrich said customs duty savings can provide a decisive competitive advantage compared to competitors from countries which have no agreement with China.
He called on Swiss companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises to use the free trade agreement.
The main products exported by Switzerland to China include machines and instruments, watches, chemical and pharmaceutical products. Swiss imports from China include machinery, textiles and clothing, watchmaking and chemical products.