Switzerland asks US to swiftly conclude proceedings against Swiss banks

Davos: Switzerland today asked the US to swiftly conclude proceedings against some Swiss banks for better banking activities, as its President Alain Berset met his American counterpart Donald Trump.

In a statement on the last day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting, Swiss government said Berset held lengthy talks with around a dozen heads of state and government on the fringes of the meet.

The main topics addressed during the discussions included international cooperation, economic and trade contacts, and Switzerland’s relations with the European Union and the UK.

“International cooperation and exchanges with other countries are key to our prosperity. Personal contacts at the highest level are therefore extremely important.

“During my many discussions I was able to set out our position and inject fresh impetus in a number of areas,” Berset said while taking stock on Friday of accomplishments during the WEF meet.

At the meeting with US President Donald Trump, which was also attended by federal councillors Johann N Schneider-Ammann and Ignazio Cassis, talks focused on economic and financial relations, education and global challenges.

With regard to the banking dispute, the Swiss delegation explained that it would be beneficial for bilateral business activities if the proceedings against Swiss ‘Group 1 banks’ were to be concluded swiftly.
This would provide greater legal certainty and open up fresh economic opportunities. The separation of powers is to be respected, as per the statement.

Some Swiss banks are facing regulatory action from the US authorities for allegedly helping American citizens evade tax.

President Berset also stressed the importance of the international legal system and the multilateral order, adding that they are vital to Switzerland’s security and prosperity, but ultimately in everyone’s interests.

The meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was attended by President Berset and Federal Councillor Schneider-Ammann.

During the meeting, a number of important issues were discussed. These include bilateral economic and trade relations, particularly the ongoing negotiations on a bilateral investment protection agreement and the envisaged free trade agreement between the European Free Trade Association and India.

Berset’s discussions with German chancellor Angela Merkel, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and EU Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici mainly focused on European policy issues, including on ways to resolve outstanding matters in relations between Switzerland and the European Union in a cooperative manner.

The statement said that during talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May, both sides stressed the will to minimise the impact of Brexit on bilateral relations and to build on relations in areas of common interest.

During talks with the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Berset reiterated Switzerland’s commitment to Ukraine and its support for the country’s reform process.

Separate talks with the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan specifically addressed the situation in the Caucasus region.

At the meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al Hariri, the main subject on the agenda was the Syrian conflict. Lebanon is sheltering around 1.3 million Syrian refugees.

In his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Berset discussed bilateral issues and the Middle East conflict. He also stressed that Switzerland was committed to a negotiated, fair and lasting peace with a two-state solution.