A cyclist passes Swiss Re headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland. [Photo/Agencies]
Financial entities from Switzerland signed two memorandums of understanding with Chinese counterparts on Tuesday, as visiting Swiss President Ueli Maurer embarked on a weeklong trip to China to deepen the "already very good" bilateral relations.
This included an updated MOU between the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the SIX Swiss Exchange, under which the pair agreed to assess the feasibility of listing securities such as depository receipts on their respective markets.
The depositary receipts would allow companies listed on either bourse to tap into each other's liquidity pools.
"We highly welcome China's adopted policies to open up its economy further ... and we look forward to further strengthening our cooperation in the economics and financial realm," Maurer told a media briefing in Shanghai through an interpreter.
Collaboration can also extend to the issuance of funds, so that Chinese enterprises stand to purchase or issue funds to support projects related to, for example, the Belt and Road Initiative, said Romeo Lacher, president of SIX Group AG.
"We've decided to jump-start the work from today. Hopefully relevant products can hit the market in the coming months," Lacher said, adding that regulatory approval and coordination on the likes of accounting systems are required before any substantial progress can be made.
Maurer was leading a high-profile finance and business delegation on his first stop, Shanghai, where the group visited the city's bourse, several financial institutions, and met with the local authorities to explore opportunities for further financial collaboration.
The tour also witnessed the signing of a cooperation framework agreement between China Pacific Insurance Co and Swiss Re AG, though no details were provided.
A joint seminar on financial technology was held as the duo looked to work together in the thriving sector, in which each nation has its unique strength, said Herbert Julius Scheidt, president of the Swiss Banking Association.
"Switzerland is known for offering quality, secure and stable financial products, while China has an edge in using technologies to employ data. A primary focus of our cooperation will be on data usage and analysis," he said.
China remained Switzerland's third-largest trading partner in 2018, trailing the European Union and the United States, with Bern exporting goods to the record value of 18.1 billion Swiss francs ($17.7 billion) to the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, up 8.2 percent year-on-year, according to data from the nonprofit Swiss Centers China.
The robust trade and investment ties are assured by a number of arrangements including the Free Trade Agreement in 2014 and the Innovative Strategic Partnership in 2016.
"Switzerland is globally renowned for its advanced financial services sector. From constructing financial systems to addressing financial risks, there are a lot of things Beijing can learn from Bern," said Wan Guanghua, director of the Institute of World Economy at Fudan University.
Maurer is scheduled to be in Beijing from Wednesday to attend the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. The two countries are expected to sign an MOU on cooperation with third markets under the Belt and Road Initiative during the visit.
With the European country showing a high-profile support for the initiative, it also creates a positive "spill-over" to other countries to home in on similar strategies, Wan said.
"Apart from being one of the world's most developed economies, Switzerland is also home to a raft of European headquarters of international organizations. This helps in promoting the BRI concept and exerting influence on member states (of these organizations)," he said.
( By He Wei in Shanghai )