As the provisions of China and Switzerland’s bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) signed last year are set to take effect, Swiss watchmaker Hublot commemorates the milestone with a special-edition watch that was presented to Chinese officials at the 2014 Sino-Swiss Economic Forum in Beijing last Tuesday.
The FTA includes the removal of most import tariffs from various groups in both countries. Switzerland is set to remove tariffs on almost all goods imported from China, while China will remove them from 84 percent of imported Swiss goods. While luxury tariffs on luxury watches will remain, a special “watch memorandum” added to the agreement stipulates that they will be cut by 60 percent over the next decade.
Hublot announced in a press release that it was chosen to create the official watch for the forum. The watch, named “Classic Fusion Sino-Swiss FTA Limited Edition,” features the Chinese and Swiss flags at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions. The words “Sino-Swiss FTA takes effect” and the date “July 1, 2014” are carved onto the caseback to commemorate the occasion. The black rubber strap with black alligator contains red stitching, representing China’s national color.
The event was jointly organized by Swiss-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and the Swiss Embassy. The press release says that the FTA taking effect will have “unprecedented opportunities in economic and trade cooperation benefitting the watch industry.”
“China is one of the most important markets for Hublot,” says Jean-Claude Biver, Hublot chairman and president of the watch division of the LVMH group. “I believe that the Sino-Swiss FTA will provide us with a huge opportunity and Hublot will demonstrate greater strength under a more open, equal, matured and mutually beneficial market environment.”
“We are very pleased to see that the referential Swiss watch is well recognized by Chinese consumers,” said Jean-Jacques de Dardel, ambassador of Switzerland in China. “I look forward to extensive bilateral exchanges and long-term collaboration between the two countries.”