Cooperation with India on tax issues at good level: Switzerland
Confident of stronger bilateral and trade ties with India, Switzerland has said its cooperation on tax matters in terms of sharing information on suspected black money cases would continue at “a good level”. It has also invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a state visit to bolster relationship between the two countries, Swiss Finance Minister Ueli Maurer told PTI in an interview in Davos. Maurer, who on Thursday night met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, said Switzerland is also keen to expand the relationship between industries of the two countries. Asked whether there could be greater cooperation on information exchange in tax matters, he said: “We have already agreed on more cooperation and this is working well and should continue. “We will continue the cooperation at a good level,” the head of Swiss Federal Department of Finance said. Over the past few months, both countries have been working closely on mutual administrative assistance. In recent months, Switzerland has disclosed names of more than a dozen Indians about whom information has been sought by the Indian government amid suspicion that their accounts in Swiss banks were being used for stashing illicit money. Swiss banks, known for their banking secrecy practices, have come under global pressure as countries, including India, are ramping up efforts to crack down on the black money menace. About the issues discussed with Jaitley, Maurer said, “We have good relations with India and we discussed our trade ties. “It is normal to speak to each other to discuss what are the issues, what are we doing. During the meeting, we also invited Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Switzerland on a state visit to further strengthen the relationship,” he said. “I hope that there is a good possibility for his visit,” he added. Stating that the Indian economy is growing well, Maurer said: “We also expect good relations between the industries of the two countries. India is a country with the largest growth rate and we expect that to continue.” When asked whether he expected the India Prime Minister's visit this year itself, he said, “We hope so. It will be a great honour for us.” India and Switzerland have been cooperating on diverse areas. Many bilateral agreements, including in the areas of trade, education, air traffic, finance, taxation, and cooperation in science and technology, are there between the two sides.
January 22, 2015 | 5:25pm IST.