Chinese participants see WEF as efficient network platform

25 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Chinese premier’s Switzerland trip further develops bilateral ties, cooperation.

BEIJING: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s presence at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and visit to Switzerland further promoted bilateral ties to a new level, and injected new conceptions into the cooperation.

Burkhalter said Switzerland is ready to help nuclear talks between Iran and the 5+1 group (Russia, China, the United States, Britain, France, and Germany) proceed toward a final agreement. Apparently agreeing to leave finger-pointing behind, trade ministers from many of the world’s biggest economies have agreed to push this year to complete an elusive trade round launched in Doha, Qatar, in 2001. They witnessed the signing of several cooperation accords in finance, food, medicine, scientific research and personnel exchanges between the two countries. Financial cooperation is the brightest spot of Li’s second visit to the Alpine country since he took office in 2013, which is famous for its banking system, precision instruments and pharmaceuticals.

He hoped the stimulus, which is designed to boost the ailing eurozone economy, will give governments the space and encouragement to embark on a raft of structural reforms such as making job markets more flexible. Li and Sommaruga pledged closer financial cooperation and agreed to support the establishment of the offshore RMB market in Switzerland, which analysts say marks a crucial step in the internationalization of the Chinese currency. But equal opportunity for women is high on the agenda here, with a dozen public and private panels, meals, and other events devoted to the issue, and celebrity champions such as the actor Emma Watson (of Harry Potter fame). Some in Europe, particularly in Germany, are worried however that the ECB’s bond-buying program may ease the pressure on governments to reform their economies. Veteran Davos attendee Rick Goings, CEO of Tupperware, says that gender issues were never mentioned during his first year at the forum, a dozen years ago.

Sitting in silence on a chair and thinking of nothing is not something you’d think people come to do at Davos, a famous Swiss ski resort and a haven for a business networking. The knitted couture that she sells comes from Italy, meaning the sudden appreciation of the Swiss franc last week – and the cheaper euro – has left her with more than a few problems. “It has really affected us,” she told CNBC.

Her current stock has been discounted, although January sales means this is usually the norm, but she said that her next batch would be priced 20 percent lower. This is the kind of clear business message that resonates with the Davos crowd, and one that’s not always apparent amidst the platitudes in the forum’s public sessions. But will anything come of it, or is women’s equality just the latest Davos fad, to be displaced next year by another equally worthy and intractable cause? I’ve now got a group of people around me who are also all-in on this—we watch what they’re doing and they see what we’re doing.” Those initial connections were made in the Alps. “That’s why Davos matters,” he says.

With a Swiss franc that’s now around 30 percent stronger against the euro than it used to be, there’s a real concern that these tourists won’t be flocking anywhere near Switzerland, let alone the town of Davos. Li called on the two sides to conduct more law-enforcement cooperation in tracking down fugitive corrupt officials, recovering embezzled money and combating transnational crimes. The retailers are now all anxiously waiting on whether the hotel rooms will stay full during the year and for next season, with the summer traditionally being a quieter period for tourists. At the check-in desk at the Hotel Europe Davos, in the center of town, there was no talk of cutting prices and with the policy announcement by the Swiss National Bank only last week, it’s still too early to tell whether the holiday goers have been put off. In the local supermarket the mood was very different, selling mainly Swiss food and drink, prices had not gone up or down and were unlikely to anytime soon, according to staff at the Coop.

And with a slew of supermarkets in the town – including the German discount supermarket Aldi, it looks like the grocery industry used to fighting tough battles.

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