China and Switzerland should deepen bilateral cooperation in sustainable development to bring out innovative and creative solutions to global concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic, business and government leaders said at a forum in Beijing on Friday.

They made the remarks at a panel discussion of the sixth Sino-Swiss Economic Forum, which also marks the 70th anniversary of Sino-Swiss relations. The conference, organized by the embassy of Switzerland and Swiss Chamber of Commerce in China, centered on sustainability and the role of technology in achieving sustainable goals.

In the welcome speech, Swiss State Secretary for Economic Affairs Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch stressed strong bilateral economic relations despite the pandemic.

“We continue to implement our bilateral Free Trade Agreement, and each year brings additional tariff reductions for imports into China. At the same time, discussions toward enhancing the FTA, including in the area of tariffs, are ongoing.”

To achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals for the benefit of all, she said that the two countries should not only depend on more sustainable technologies, but also “on a broader research and innovation landscape”.

Bernardino Regazzoni, Swiss ambassador to China, said companies in Switzerland and China have been working towards a more sustainable future.

Hailing the thriving economic ties of the two countries, he also called for more “smart and sustainable” cooperation in both public and private sectors by using a strategic innovative partnership, enhancing FTA and carrying on bilateral dialogues, especially when all nations have common challenges right now.

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