China to cut import duties on Swiss watches by 60 percent in ten years

Under the pact, Switzerland will offer zero tariffs on 99.7 percent of the value of goods from China, while China will allow 84 percent of Swiss exports to be duty-free, Assistant Minister of Commerce Yu Jianhua told a press conference on Monday.

Switzerland will be the first continental European country to sign a free trade deal with China. Iceland was the first European country to sign a free trade pact with China in April, part of moves to reduce trade disputes with countries in the region.

‘In the first year, we will cut import duties on (Swiss watches) by 18 percent and then by around 5 percent annually in the following years,’Yu said. “They will be cut by 60 percent in ten years.” “The prices of Swiss watches tend to come down by some range (for Chinese consumers).”

Sales of luxury watches have tumbled in recent months, hurt in part by a government crackdown on giving gifts to officials for favours, and as growth in the world’s second-biggest economy shows signs of weakness.

adapted from Reuters

Patek Philippe Maison flagship store, Shanghai