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NGOs urge respect of rights in China trade talks

Swiss non-governmental organisations have called on the government to push for human rights in planned negotiations with China on a free trade agreement.

Several charities and development aid groups warned it was unethical for Swiss companies to benefit from poor human rights standards in China.

The alliance appealed to the Swiss delegation to raise the issue of human rights and international labour principles in the negotiations, which are due to begin in January.

During a visit by Swiss President Doris Leuthard to Beijing last August both sides signed a memorandum of understanding to open the talks.

Since 2002 China, including Hong Kong, has been Switzerland’s most important trade partner in Asia. Swiss exports total SFr6.11 billion ($6.19 billion), Swiss imports SFr4.99 billion.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR