China and Switzerland are discussing a reciprocal trade deal that would see import duty exempted for the majority of imports from either side, a senior Chinese commercial official revealed on Monday.
The two sides have signed a memorandum of understanding to end the talks on a bilateral free trade agreement after nine rounds over the past more than two years, Yu Jianhua, China's assistant commerce minister, said at a press conference.
Yu said the two sides are discussing the possibility to ink the agreement in July.
Switzerland has agreed to exempt 99.7 percent of Chinese imports from the duty as soon as the agreement takes effect, and China will in turn remove it in the case of 84.2 percent of Swiss imports, Yu said.
Under the agreement, China would apply the exemption to 67 percent of imports when the agreement takes effect, and the remaining 17.2 percent will be free of tariff in the following 5 to 15 years.
Considering situation of their respective domestic industries, Switzerland will apply tax reductions to 403 varieties of Chinese agricultural products and exempt the tariffs of another 960, while China will cut or remove tariffs on industrial products including machines, textiles, chemicals and automobiles.
Yu also mentioned a tax reduction of 60 percent on Swiss timepieces, with 18 percent coming in the first year after the agreement takes effect and around 5 percent every year thereafter.