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Interview: Chinese market is "source of innovation and knowledge," says Swiss university scholar

Updated: May 7, 2024 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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47e4631e58fa4e74af39d4a6ee35da4c.JPEGAn aerial drone photo taken on April 25, 2024 shows a construction site on the high-speed railway linking east China's Shanghai, southwest China's Chongqing and Chengdu of southwest China's Sichuan Province. (Xinhua/Ji Chunpeng)

Leading international companies realize that the Chinese market is not only big but also a source of innovation and knowledge, said Swiss scholar Tomas Casas Klett.

by Martina Fuchs

ST. GALLEN, Switzerland, May 6 (Xinhua) -- Leading foreign firms realize that the Chinese market is not only big but also a source of innovation and knowledge, said Tomas Casas Klett, director of the China Competence Center at the University of St. Gallen.

China is a driver of global economic growth "because it's an enormous economy, the second largest in the world," Casas Klett told Xinhua on the sidelines of the 53rd St. Gallen Symposium.

Inflation is always a consideration for international business, but China shows price stability in contrast to some developed economies, "where rates of inflation are diminishing but remain stubborn," said the scholar with 15 years of entrepreneurship experience in China.

"On the other hand, the Chinese market is extremely competitive," he said, adding that the world benefits from dynamism and increased efficiencies of the Chinese market.

Consumer prices in China rose by a muted 0.1 percent in March from a year earlier, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data showed last month, versus a 0.7-percent rise in February which was the first gain in six months.

At China's "two sessions" in March, the government set a GDP growth target of around 5 percent for 2024.

e0e554687da141a4b8e496c97a863231.JPEGThis photo taken with a mobile phone on Sept. 19, 2023 shows the booth of Schneider Electric at the 23rd China International Industry Fair (CIIF) in east China's Shanghai. (Xinhua/Huang Anqi)

Asked about foreign business sentiment in China, Casas Klett expressed his confidence, saying "the fundamental Chinese economic reality is one of growth."

"Many firms doing business in China realize that. They want a piece of that market and they want a piece of that growth," he said.

In January, China and Switzerland announced the completion of a joint feasibility study on the upgrade of their free trade agreement (FTA) and agreed to support the prompt launch of formal negotiations.

The FTA between the two nations was signed in 2013 and entered into force on July 1, 2014.

"An upgrade of the free trade agreement would be welcome," Casas Klett said. "We hope that there is further liberalization and further opening. There's appetite on both sides to open up."

Earlier this year, China granted Switzerland unilateral visa-free treatment, while Switzerland said it would provide greater visa convenience for Chinese nationals and Chinese enterprises investing in the European country.

The St. Gallen Symposium, a leading student-driven organization and platform for cross-generational dialogue and collaboration, held its annual conference on May 2-3 on the theme of "Confronting Scarcity." 

Editor: Li Shimeng