23.01.2020

Switzerland - China MoU: practical implementation and expected outcomes

A great number of international projects and initiatives has been developed recently. BRI and MoU projects the speakers touch during the meeting bring benefits not only a couple of countries they include, but foster the development of the third party markets.
The moderator: Martina Fuchsм. Speakers: Dr. Yuan Ding, Dmitry Kalinin, Dr. Urs Lustenberger, Tatyana Popova, Murat Seitnepesov, Ralph Lehner, Dr. Claude Béglé.
Dr. Yuan Ding, Vice President and Dean, China Europe International Business School, China mentions the problem of China as the organization of international projects and dealing with cultures due to inward looking principles. The speaker talks about the concept of connectivity that became important due to investments from China with the help of Switzerland. We can see integrated domestic market now. The infrastructure is copied from Chinese economic model change because of aging population problem and high salary. Dr. Yuan Ding gives the example of win-win strategy applied dealing with Uzbekistan.

Dmitry Kalinin, Director, Strategic Development, Integral Petroleum SA, Geneva, Switzerland draws the attention to Swiss -Chinese MOU and development of third party markets in the Silk Road region. Here are the potentials for all three parties: Switzerland, China and recipients of investments. Dmitriy mentions one of the most interesting investments that can be made there- a system of original venture funds where Swiss experts in funds management and Chinese desire for investments into the Silk Road region will be combined. Thus, the system will select and process investment projects faster and in more transparent way.

Ralph Lehner, St.GallenBodenseeArea - Eastern Switzerland Economic Development, Ministry of Economy and Labour, Appenzell Ausserhoden, Switzerland speaks about free trade agreement between China and Switzerland and its positive effect: the infrastructure of BRI fosters the development of trade relationships.

Dr. Urs Lustenberger, Partner of Lustenberger Law Firm Zurich, Chairman of Swiss-Asian Chamber of Commerce, Zurich, Switzerland believes the raise of China will have a counter movement in the world.

He agrees that nowadays almost no one knows what MoU means. He describes it as strategic innovative cooperation relationship between Switzerland and China, where Switzerland will assist China in dealing with the third parties while entering BRI projects. Doctor says they can propose to make a fair contractual framework; also, could be involved into arbitration center and could be an instrument in financing the projects and products. In Switzerland it is up to private sector to come up with the proposals in infrastructure and content.

Murat Seitnepesov, Chairman of the Organizing Committee, Caspian Week, Geneva, Switzerland believes that it is a great opportunity for Switzerland to revitalize financial sector because the budget of BRI is mot unlimited. If investments and technologies flow go through Switzerland it will be beneficial for employees, banks, insurance companies. Speaking from the point of view of the Greater Caspian Region, such active Chinese expansion scares other countries. That is why the best way is to act through the country that has political neutrality and knows how to regulate everything. The Greater Caspian region and Switzerland is win-win cooperation.

Tatyana Popova, PhD, CEO, Agency of strategic programs Ltd., Moscow, Russian Federation noted that both China and Switzerland are the most important countries for Russia to work together. Russia and China have a lot of common projects to put into practice exactly through Switzerland.

Dr. Claude Béglé, Former member Swiss Federal Parliament, Executive Chairman, SymbioSwiss refers to the story of relations between China and Switzerland that has two faces. Activists say that we should stop making mercantile agreements if human rights are not sufficiently respected. Also, there is an opinion that we should include sustainable development and environment. A country should be a strongly involved trade partner and at the same time keep neutrality while being in contact with other countries. This task can be quite difficult. The relationships with China and the Silk Road are very favorable now.

The speakers mention the importance of attention paid to MoU. The question is whether Chinese entities co-finance structures of MoU or it will be done from Swiss side. What is the role of institutions that embody the MoU?

Ralph thinks that both governments and private sectors should take active part in this project.

Speaking about contribution that can be made to MoU, Mourad refers to mini–Caspian Week in November 2019 that was organized to attract Chinese overseas investors.

Tatyana adds that the goal of the investment project office she works at is to develop water transport in Russia and they would love to work with China directly as well. But at the same time, it is much easier to do it through Switzerland.

The moderator: Martina Fuchsм. Speakers: Dr. Yuan Ding, Dmitry Kalinin, Dr. Urs Lustenberger, Tatyana Popova, Murat Seitnepesov, Ralph Lehner, Dr. Claude Béglé.
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