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Chinese premier Li Keqiang signed the framework for the deal during an official visit to Switzerland. Pictured here with Swiss vice president and foreign minister Didier Burkhalter. Image: News.CN
Chinese premier Li Keqiang signed the framework for the deal during an official visit to Switzerland. Pictured here with Swiss vice president and foreign minister Didier Burkhalter. Image: News.CN
 









China slashes duties on Swiss watches

China plans to cut drastically import duties on Swiss-made watches by 60 per cent over the next decade as part of a new free-trade agreement with Switzerland.  

At a recent news conference, China assistant minister of commerce Yu Jianhua said the country would reduce import tariffs by 18 per cent in the first year of the agreement and 5 per cent annually after that. 

Both countries have signed the framework for the deal, which is expected to be finalised next month. 

In addition, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH) announced that industry and government leaders from China and Switzerland had signed a watch memorandum with a view to improving the framework for the trade of watches between the two countries. 

Yu Jianhua, China assistant minister of commerce
Yu Jianhua, China assistant minister of commerce
According to FH, the working group will meet at least once a year to discuss industry concerns. Topics on the agenda will include, strengthening trade relations, protecting intellectual property rights and indications of origin, particularly Swiss made and counterfeiting. 

The FH, the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, the China Horologe Association, and the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology are all involved in the initiative.

The agreement is good news for the watch industry, which has suffered a decrease in sales activity in China recently. 

A new report titled, Luxury Goods Worldwide Market Study, Spring 2013 Update, found that watch consumption had dropped considerably, largely due to an ease in purchases made by Chinese consumers.

The study, which focuses on global luxury goods, also reported that sales in China were expected to stabilise to seven per cent in 2013 – down from 10 per cent last year. 

As previously reported by Jeweller, some industry experts have suggested that one of the main reasons for this slowdown could be attributed to the Chinese government's crackdown on bribery and corruption, where Swiss watches are often given as expensive gifts to government officials. 

Another reason given is that many Chinese will purchase Swiss watches while travelling in an effort to avoid the higher taxes for luxury goods in China.

China is reportedly Switzerland's third biggest trading partner after the European Union and America.

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Sunday, 22 September, 2019 09:21am
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