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bilateral ties Switzerland and Japan seek to bolster economic relations

Maurer and Abe

It has been ten years since Switzerland and Japan signed the free trade agreement that helped boost economic ties between the two countries.

(Keystone / Jiji Press)

During a visit to Tokyo on Monday, Swiss President Ueli Maurer and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reinforced strong economic relations between their two countries.

Following the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in Fukuoka, Japan over the weekend, President Maurer reiterated Switzerland's interest in updating the bilateral Free Trade and Partnership Agreement with Japan, which has been in force for ten years.

According to a government statementexternal link, Maurer and Abe also discussed regional issues during the meeting including the Korean peninsula, China, and Iran as well as opportunities to collaborate on cyber security.

The two heads of state also exchanged views on some of the major challenges facing the global economic and financial system, including digital transformation and sustainable investment – also key themes of the G20 meeting.

At the end of June, the G20 Summitexternal link will be held in Japan - the first time the country plays host.

Taxing in the digital age

During the G20 summit, finance ministers from major economies doubled-down on efforts "to put in place a fairer tax system”, including taxing global internet companies more heavily.

By 2020, there are expected to be common rules that close loopholes for tech giants like Facebook, Google and Amazon. Instead of taxing these companies based on their physical presence, specifically where their offices are located, the aim is to tax them based on where they generate revenue.

+ Read more about the recent vote in Switzerland on corporate tax reforms

A change in attitude by the US, which had been blocking negotiations for years, was said to help make some headway towards an agreement.

President Maurer underscored the need for a consensus-based taxation solution and Switzerland's willingness to tax profits where the added value is generated. According to a statement, Switzerland will continue to play an active role in the discussions. 

Keystone-SDA/jdp

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