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India, Switzerland Sign Tax Information Exchange Accord

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

01 September 2010

Swiss federal councillor and foreign minister, Micheline Calmy-Rey, has met with Indian finance minister Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi to sign a protocol to revise the two countries’ double taxation agreement (DTA).

This will introduce new provisions concerning administrative assistance in accordance with OECD standards together with a comprehensive most favoured nation clause. According to Calmy-Rey, Indian tax authorities could seek information about account-holders with Swiss banks, if they present a prima facie case, but the agreement would not allow a 'fishing expedition'.

The most favoured nation clause provides that the lowest rate of withholding tax which India has agreed with other OECD countries will also automatically apply for Switzerland in cases concerning dividends, interest, license fees and commissions for technical services.

The DTA contains provisions for the avoidance of double taxation and thereby promotes the development of bilateral economic relations.

Like other BRIC countries, India is a focal point of Swiss foreign economic strategy and its fourth most important trading partner in Asia. Negotiations concerning a comprehensive trading and investment agreement are currently underway within the context of the European Free Trade Association (Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein).

Since 2000 the trading volume between Switzerland and India has increased by approximately 150% and currently stands at over CHF3bn (USD2.95bn).

With direct investment of around CHF2.3bn and approximately 150 branch offices and joint ventures with Swiss companies, Switzerland is the 11th largest investor in India.

It is anticipated that the protocol could become effective by January 2011.

A comprehensive report in our Intelligence Report series, examining in depth the situation of offshore transparency and secrecy in a number of the most prominent jurisdictions, is available in the Lowtax Library at and a description of the report can be seen at
TAGS: tax | investment | offshore confidentiality | tax information exchange agreement (TIEA) | double tax agreement (DTA) | India | interest | royalties | banking | Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) | fees | offshore | banking secrecy | withholding tax | Switzerland | dividends | standards

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