Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Geneva proposed cutting its corporate tax rate as the Swiss canton that’s home to almost 1,000 multinationals bids to increase its allure in the face of European Union pressure to scrap preferential fiscal deals for foreign companies.

Geneva plans to cut its tax rate to 13.49 percent from 24.2 percent, the cantonal government said in statement on Tuesday. For an interim period of five years, the rate would be a slightly higher 13.79 percent, it said.

While that’s above the average 11.6 percent preferential rate currently offered to many foreign firms, the new regime will improve the Swiss city’s competitive position, according to a Credit Suisse Group AG study published in February.

The Swiss canton wants to boost its appeal amid headwinds from the strong franc, concern over immigration quotas and the demise of banking secrecy. Multinationals from Procter & Gamble Co. to commodity trader Mercuria Energy Group Ltd. account for 76,000 jobs and 40 percent of Geneva’s economy.

A rate of about 13 percent would see Geneva jump 13 places to become the third-most attractive of Switzerland’s 26 cantons, trailing only Zug and Zurich, according to a study by Credit Suisse. France, which borders the canton to the south, east and west, has a tax rate of 33.33 percent, data compiled by KPMG show.

To contact the reporter on this story: Albertina Torsoli in Geneva at atorsoli@bloomberg.net. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Vidya Root at vroot@bloomberg.net, Dylan Griffiths, Zoe Schneeweiss

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