Federal Councillor Alain Berset meets the Chinese Minister of Health

Bern, 17.08.2013 - Federal Councillor Alain Berset met Li Bin, the Chinese Minister of Health and Family Planning, on Saturday in Beijing. During his four-day working visit he also attended other meetings at ministerial level dealing with cultural and social topics. On Friday, Federal Councillor Berset signed an agreement on the transfer of cultural assets. Rounding off his trip on Sunday will be a visit to a hospital in Shanghai and the activities of Pro Helvetia in China.

The main topic of discussion between Li Bin and the Head of the FDHA was the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by both countries in 2005 on cooperation in the healthcare sector: communicable and non-communicable diseases and the situation of healthcare workers. The MoU is the basis for increased cooperation between Switzerland and China in matters of healthcare policy. Federal Councillor Berset also explained the overall reform strategy known as Healthcare2020. For her part, Minister Li Bin provided a progress report on the healthcare reform under way in China since 2009.

The partnerships between hospitals in Shanghai and Shenzhen, on the Chinese side, and in the cantons of Basel-Stadt and Geneva, on the Swiss side, were also discussed. Federal Councillor Berset is being accompanied by the two government councillors responsible for healthcare in these cantons. They are Carlo Conti (Basel-Stadt), who is also the President of the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Healthcare Directors, and Pierre-Fran├žois Unger (Geneva).

Prior to the meeting, Minister of Health Li Bin and Federal Councillor Berset attended the opening of the Chinese Health Forum, which deals mainly with tax systems and reforms in the healthcare sector. The forum is a high-ranking discussion platform between ministers of health from Europe, Asia and Africa as well as experts and representatives of healthcare systems.

On Thursday, Federal Councillor Berset opened a conference on infectious diseases and vaccinations. He had an opportunity here to exchange experiences with Chinese healthcare specialists about communicable diseases.

On Friday, Federal Councillor Berset held a talk with the Vice-Minister Yin Li from the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA), which was set up in March 2013. They agreed the conclusion of an agreement on areas of common interest, especially relating to food safety and the safety and quality of therapeutic drugs. This topic will also be an important point during the announced visit to Switzerland of Zhang Yong, the Minister responsible for the CFDA, in November 2013.

Also on Friday, Federal Councillor Alain Berset signed a bilateral agreement on the protection of cultural assets. The aim is to improve the preservation and legal exchange of mobile cultural assets and to combat illegal trading.

Friday's programme also included talks at the ministerial level on a social insurance agreement, which is currently in the negotiation stage. These discussions showed that there are no obstacles to an agreement being reached in the near future. Swiss citizens working in China would benefit from such an agreement. If seconded abroad, they would only have to pay social security contributions in their home country. The Head of the FDHA met part of the Swiss community in China on Friday evening in Beijing, and another meeting will take place on Sunday evening in Shanghai.

There he will first visit the representation of the Swiss cultural foundation Pro Helvetia in China. Meetings with artists, curators and museum and festival directors are also planned. The main topic will be access to the up-and-coming Chinese cultural scene.

A business delegation in the medical technology sector is also taking part in the trip.

Address for enquiries

Peter Lauener, Communications Advisor at the FDHA, tel. +41 (0)79 650 12 34


General Secretariat FDHA

Federal Office of Public Health

Federal Social Insurance Office