China Grants Unilateral Visa-Free Access to Switzerland in a Bid to Boost Faltering Economy: Analysts

China recently announced that it will implement a unilateral visa-free policy for Swiss citizens, a move that some analysts say is a desperate attempt by Beijing to revive its struggling economy.Chinese media reported that Swiss President Viola Amherd and Chinese Premier Li Qiang met on Jan. 15 in Switzerland’s capital, Bern.The two sides announced that China and Switzerland had completed the joint feasibility study on upgrading the China-Switzerland Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and agreed to support the early launch of formal FTA upgrade negotiations, according to Chinese state-run media Xinhua.China is ready to work with Switzerland and will provide visa-free entry for Swiss citizens, and in return, the Swiss government will “provide more visa facilitation for Chinese citizens as well as Chinese enterprises investing in Switzerland,” the report said.Ms. Amherd wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that the meeting “paved the way for further negotiations on a reciprocal free trade agreement. We also discussed development cooperation, mediation & human rights.”‘Attract Foreign Capital’China observer and political commentator Huang Ziyin shared her insights regarding Beijing’s decision with the Chinese language edition of The Epoch Times.“The Chinese Communist Party [CCP] aims to use visa exemptions to attract foreign capital,” she said.Related Stories12/10/2023She believes the main motive behind the CCP’s unilateral visa-free treatment is to prevent an economic collapse in China. Furthermore, she pointed out that several local governments are struggling with massive debt and face difficulty paying civil servants.Last November, China applied a unilateral visa-free policy to travelers holding ordinary passports from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Malaysia, the Chinese foreign ministry announced in its regular press conference.In Ms. Huang’s view, the CCP is extending visa exemptions to these countries as a goodwill gesture. However, diplomatic interactions between nations are ideally based on reciprocity. Otherwise, it can be seen as an “act of humiliation toward the sovereignty,” she said.Belgian’s foreign ministry announced on Jan. 12 that Beijing could exempt Belgian citizens from requiring a visa for short trips to China.Responding to the news, Chinese netizens wondered why Chinese nationals aren’t offered the same visa exemptions from the international community.Former Capital Normal University professor Li Yuanhua said that the Chinese are eager to explore opportunities abroad, but Western countries are concerned about relaxing travel restrictions.“Given the high demand for emigration among Chinese people, it seems improbable that Western countries will entertain the idea of visa-free entry,” he told The Epoch Times.Many Chinese have been taking a circuitous route, including perilous passages through tropical rainforests and navigating through multiple countries and checkpoints, just to get into the United States, Mr. Li said.On Jan. 11, China’s National Immigration Administration announced new measures to make it easier for foreigners to travel to China for business, study, and tourism. These include offering port visas, exempting travelers subject to a 24-hour visa-free transit from border inspections, and relaxing visa application conditions.Lai Jianping, a former Beijing lawyer and political commentator, believes the new travel measures aim to revitalize China’s economy but pointed out that the CCP’s counterespionage and data security laws have discouraged foreigners from conducting business in the country.“The global community sees clearly that China may never return to the path of reform and opening up,” Mr. Lai told The Epoch Times.Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said last August that U.S. companies had told her that China has become “uninvestable” in recent years due to foreign firms being raided and fined by Chinese authorities, slow deal approvals, and anti-espionage laws, among other things.Li Yun contributed to this report.

China Grants Unilateral Visa-Free Access to Switzerland in a Bid to Boost Faltering Economy: Analysts

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China recently announced that it will implement a unilateral visa-free policy for Swiss citizens, a move that some analysts say is a desperate attempt by Beijing to revive its struggling economy.

Chinese media reported that Swiss President Viola Amherd and Chinese Premier Li Qiang met on Jan. 15 in Switzerland’s capital, Bern.

The two sides announced that China and Switzerland had completed the joint feasibility study on upgrading the China-Switzerland Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and agreed to support the early launch of formal FTA upgrade negotiations, according to Chinese state-run media Xinhua.

China is ready to work with Switzerland and will provide visa-free entry for Swiss citizens, and in return, the Swiss government will “provide more visa facilitation for Chinese citizens as well as Chinese enterprises investing in Switzerland,” the report said.

Ms. Amherd wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that the meeting “paved the way for further negotiations on a reciprocal free trade agreement. We also discussed development cooperation, mediation & human rights.”
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‘Attract Foreign Capital’

China observer and political commentator Huang Ziyin shared her insights regarding Beijing’s decision with the Chinese language edition of The Epoch Times.

“The Chinese Communist Party [CCP] aims to use visa exemptions to attract foreign capital,” she said.

She believes the main motive behind the CCP’s unilateral visa-free treatment is to prevent an economic collapse in China. Furthermore, she pointed out that several local governments are struggling with massive debt and face difficulty paying civil servants.

Last November, China applied a unilateral visa-free policy to travelers holding ordinary passports from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Malaysia, the Chinese foreign ministry announced in its regular press conference.

In Ms. Huang’s view, the CCP is extending visa exemptions to these countries as a goodwill gesture. However, diplomatic interactions between nations are ideally based on reciprocity. Otherwise, it can be seen as an “act of humiliation toward the sovereignty,” she said.

Belgian’s foreign ministry announced on Jan. 12 that Beijing could exempt Belgian citizens from requiring a visa for short trips to China.

Responding to the news, Chinese netizens wondered why Chinese nationals aren’t offered the same visa exemptions from the international community.

Former Capital Normal University professor Li Yuanhua said that the Chinese are eager to explore opportunities abroad, but Western countries are concerned about relaxing travel restrictions.

“Given the high demand for emigration among Chinese people, it seems improbable that Western countries will entertain the idea of visa-free entry,” he told The Epoch Times.

Many Chinese have been taking a circuitous route, including perilous passages through tropical rainforests and navigating through multiple countries and checkpoints, just to get into the United States, Mr. Li said.

On Jan. 11, China’s National Immigration Administration announced new measures to make it easier for foreigners to travel to China for business, study, and tourism. These include offering port visas, exempting travelers subject to a 24-hour visa-free transit from border inspections, and relaxing visa application conditions.

Lai Jianping, a former Beijing lawyer and political commentator, believes the new travel measures aim to revitalize China’s economy but pointed out that the CCP’s counterespionage and data security laws have discouraged foreigners from conducting business in the country.

“The global community sees clearly that China may never return to the path of reform and opening up,” Mr. Lai told The Epoch Times.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said last August that U.S. companies had told her that China has become “uninvestable” in recent years due to foreign firms being raided and fined by Chinese authorities, slow deal approvals, and anti-espionage laws, among other things.

Li Yun contributed to this report.

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