“Switzerland” is to become “a Chinese bridgehead in Europe” announces Le Temps in the wake of the July 6 signature in Beijing of free-trade agreement between Switzerland and China after “six years of negotiations.”

Le Temps cites St Gallen University’s Professor of International Economics, Reto Föllmi, who considers that “the agreement with Bern is a weather vane for a rapprochement with Brussels.”

The Genevan daily further notes that it is hard to predict the “potential gain” from such an accord because the “8,000 tariff regulations it contains” will “not be applied before the end of June 2014.” However, according to Federal Councillor, Johann Schneider-Ammann, who signed the text with the Chinese, the scope of the deal “is greater than I expected.”

Le Temps explains that —

… China effectively went further than it has done on WTO rules, offering more concessions on such issues as designation of origin, the protection of intellectual property and the administrative burden on the services sector.