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Dubai Hosts Swiss Economic Delegation

by Lorys Charalambous,, Cyprus

06 November 2007

Doris Leuthard, Swiss Federal Councillor and Head of Federal Department of Economic Affairs, has visited the Dubai International Financial Centre with a nine member strong delegation, to explore how investment ties between Switzerland and the DIFC can be strengthened.

The Dubai visit is part of a four-day trip to the region by Leuthard, as Switzerland explores new trade and investment relations with the booming economies of the United Arab Emirates and Oman, and could be a pre-cursor to a free trade agreement between Switzerland and the Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar.

Though Switzerland is a preferred destination for private and investment banks, Leuthard was keen to explore Dubai and the DIFC, and to understand the vast opportunities that exist in the region, especially within the financial sector.

Since its inception three years ago, the DIFC has attracted some of the leading and most respected Swiss names in the global banking industry including UBS, Credit Suisse, Bank Sarasin, Clariden and Julius Baer, which have all received licenses to operate in the district.

Commenting on the Swiss delegation's visit, Dr. Omar Bin Sulaiman, Governor, DIFC, stated: "We are delighted to welcome Doris Leuthard and her delegation to the DIFC. As one of the world's fastest growing financial centres, their visit provides an opportunity to examine new initiatives and projects. There is a lot of common ground as the financial services sector is a major contributor to the GDP in both our economies."

The delegation discussed trade relations, as well as the expansion and strengthening of political and economic ties between the UAE and Switzerland, and more specifically with the DIFC.

The DIFC was originally developed after an extensive study of leading global centres, including Switzerland.

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