The Swiss Bankers Association wants the Swiss authorities to sign more international agreements with other countries to automatically exchange the financial data of tax residents.
To date, Switzerland has signed 40 automatic exchange of information agreements with other countries to start transferring data to combat tax evasion. But it could do more, according to Herbert Scheidt, the new chairman of the Swiss Bankers Associationexternal link.
“There are expectations and we should do more and much quicker,” he told reporters in Geneva on Wednesday evening.
At the same time, Switzerland should closely monitor how other states were applying the tax exchange standards, he added. Scheidt also urged the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to stop giving US financial centres a permanent ‘derogation’ on the automatic exchange issue.
On Thursday, the Swiss Federal Department of Finance announced that it had initiated a consultation process until March 2017 to start automatic exchange of information accords with a raft of countries.
These include: Andorra, Argentina, Barbados, Bermuda, Brazil, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Chile, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, India, Israel, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, San Marino, the Seychelles, South Africa, the Turks and Caicos Islands and Uruguay.
If approved the agreements should enter into force on January 1, 2018 so that data can start to be exchanged in 2019.
The finance ministry said in a statement that the treaties should ‘contribute to strengthening the competitiveness, the credibility and integrity of Switzerland's financial centre’.
Switzerland is set to begin agreements next year with all European Union states including Gibraltar, and Australia. The same applies to Iceland, Norway, Japan, Canada, South Korea and the British crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. Parliament is due to give its approval during the current winter session.
swissinfo.ch with agencies