The President of the Swiss Confederation Ueli Maurer will pay a state visit to China next week and attend the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.
Ahead of his trip, President Maurer spoke of the significance of the Belt and Road in promoting economic growth in the participating countries, and of Switzerland's readiness to play a part in the initiative.
The Swiss leader said his participation in this year's Belt and Road Forum will include discussions about both short and long term cooperation.
"In the medium to long term, we should aim to build a stable network and increase our understanding of Chinese culture and the way Chinese people behave. In the short term, there is a need for sustainable projects that play a role as a 'lighthouse' for our cooperation. These projects should be accepted into our society and be financially stable. We can dispel people's doubts by showing them some positive results from these projects and prepare them for more in the future," Maurer said.
President Maurer said that even though Switzerland was not a key location on the Belt and Road, it can still have a role to play.
"I think Switzerland can be a bridge between the two continents. Switzerland is an open economy, and is committed to creating a good business environment for enterprises, allowing them to play to their full advantage in finance, investment, insurance, and other areas, and achieve success in the free market. Swiss enterprises can provide high-quality and low-cost services. Switzerland is also home to many international organizations, especially in Geneva. From this perspective, Switzerland is also very important to China," the president noted.
Many experts believe that the Belt and Road initiative is a concrete measure that enables more and more countries to benefit from globalization, at a time when the move towards more global integration is facing severe challenges.
President Maurer also praised China for taking on more global responsibility.
"The Belt and Road Initiative has created a new dimension for the world economy, because no other country in the world can forge such a long-term strategy, so it is indeed a centenary project. If the initiative wins the trust of other countries, it will be an ambitious project that will benefit the global economy and people around the world."
China and Switzerland signed free trade agreement back in 2013, and the two sides established an innovative strategic partnership in 2016," Maurer added.
President Maurer believes two countries are ready to upgrade their bilateral cooperation, including in the trade of goods and services. And during his visit to China, he expects to see the two countries sign a Belt and Road deal.
"Specifically, I think there are several areas in particular where we can further develop our cooperation. One is in financial markets. We are hoping to see China open its financial markets further. Another area is technology development, especially in finance and block chain. We can also work together in the insurance industry and sustainable development, where we have rich knowledge and experience. We are also going to sign a memorandum of understanding with China on cooperation in third party markets," Maurer said.
In 2017, President Maurer attended the first Belt and Road Forum as Switzerland's finance minister.
The three-day Belt and Road Forum is due to start on April 25.