Partner City Shanghai
The twinning with the Chinese economic hub of Shanghai has attracted numerous projects and exchange programmes in the areas of cutting-edge medicine, economy, education and research, sustainability, as well as culture and tourism since its launch on 19 November 2007.
Basel and Shanghai are two highly successful cities that have discovered their common interests and have united their strengths in a city partnership. Although there is a striking difference between the size of the two cities of Basel and Shanghai, there are noticeable similarities in their economic interests: Shanghai and Basel are two of the world’s most important centres for life sciences, have tremendous economic power, are regarded within their respective country as cultural metropolises, and are established centres of science and academic learning. These areas will also be the focus of the partnership. At the same time, Switzerland's core values and fundamental rights such as democracy, the rule of law and human rights are also to be represented within the framework of the partnership.
City partnership agreement
After almost two years of preparation, Basel’s State Councillor Dr. Carlo Conti and deputy mayor Tang Dengjie signed a twinning agreement in Shanghai on November 19, 2007. The first Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) relating to cooperation between the two cities in the years 2008 to 2010 was drawn up and signed in Basel on April 4, 2008. On August 11, 2010, the second MoU was signed in Shanghai, recording further cooperation for the years 2011 to 2013. This document must be reviewed and signed again every three years. On March 21, 2014, the third consecutive MoU was signed for the period 2014-2016. On September 2, 2016, former President of the Government of the Canton of Basel-Stadt, Guy Morin, and Deputy Secretary of the CPC Shanghai Committee, Ying Yong, signed the fourth consecutive MoU for 2017 to 2019. Because of the Corona pandemic, the validity of this document was extended by one year until the entry into force of the fifth consecutive MoU. This was signed on 15 April 2021 during a video conference between the President of the Government Beat Jans and the Mayor of Shanghai Gong Zheng and defines the thematic focal points for the years 2021 to 2023.
The Swiss China Strategy 2021-2024
The Federal Council adopted a new China strategy at its meeting on 19 March 2021. Relations between Switzerland and China are continually intensifying, with clear differences in values becoming increasingly evident. The number of Swiss players maintaining contacts with China is steadily increasing. On the part of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), town twinning is generally considered an important and useful element of Swiss cooperation with China. This also explicitly applies to the partnership between Basel and Shanghai. According to the FDFA, it enables a focus on individual, very specific topics and projects. This complements the cooperation at federal level, where there is always a focus on the big issues of geopolitics, values and principles. This close coordination guarantees that the town twinning always remains within the political framework set by the federal government.