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Swiss Gov't Recaps 2015 Tax Policy Breakthroughs

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

14 January 2016

The Swiss Federal Council has released a report on the country's foreign policy achievements in 2015, which reflects on the tax and free trade agreements reached last year.

The report noted that Switzerland and the European Union (EU) will, from 2018, automatically exchange information in accordance with the standard developed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Under a deal signed last May, the parties will receive on an annual basis the names, addresses, tax identification numbers, and dates of birth of their residents with accounts in contracting states, along with other financial and account balance information.

In June 2015, the Council concluded that a free trade agreement (FTA) with the EU would be a step backwards and cause uncertainty. In its annual report, the Council pointed out that studies have shown that the discontinuation of certain bilateral agreements with the EU would substantially reduce Switzerland's attractiveness as a business location, and that their substitution with a comprehensive FTA would not meet the needs of the Swiss economy. The Council said bilateral agreements will continue to form the basis of its approach to relations with the EU.

The report also explained that Switzerland expanded its network of FTAs in 2015. A new agreement with Bosnia and Herzegovina entered into force, and Guatemala's protocol of accession to the European Free Trade Association-Central America FTA was signed. The existing FTAs with Albania and Serbia were supplemented with new provisions on trade and development. Switzerland launched FTA negotiations with the Philippines and Georgia and held further talks with Vietnam and Malaysia.

Last, the Council said that as soon as the possible impact on the Swiss economy of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership under negotiation between the EU and US can be assessed, it will decide on the appropriate steps to be taken.

TAGS: tax | business | free trade agreement (FTA) | tax information exchange agreement (TIEA) | Bosnia and Herzegovina | trade treaty | Albania | Philippines | Serbia | agreements | Georgia | Guatemala | Malaysia | Switzerland | revenue statistics | trade | European Union (EU) | Vietnam | Europe | Invest | Central America

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