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Swiss economics minister reiterates support for China's entry into WTO

Switzerland's economics minister, Pascal Couchepin, has reiterated his support for China's rapid accession to the World Trade Organisation.

Switzerland's economics minister, Pascal Couchepin, has reiterated his support for China's rapid accession to the World Trade Organisation. Speaking to the Swiss-Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Zurich, he said such a move would open the way for greater investment in China.

"Including Hong Kong, Beijing is our second biggest commercial partner in Asia," Couchepin said. Trade between Switzerland and China has grown from SFr 167 million in 1951, to SFr 2.8 billion in 1999.

Couchepin stressed that China's participation in the WTO would guarantee Switzerland and WTO members free access to an enormous market. He said the Swiss service sector, including banking, insurance and telecommunications stood to gain the most.

The United States has given its support for China's entry into the WTO. However, the European Union has yet to agree on the accession criteria, which includes more open Chinese trade borders to European services.

swissinfo with agencies

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