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State visit Swiss president plans three-nation tour in Asia

Singapore's President Tony Tan Keng Yam visited Switzerland in 2014


Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann will travel to Singapore for a first-time state visit next week, and then pay an official visit to South Korea, before ending his Asian tour in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar.

The visit comes at a time of increasing competition between countries like Switzerland and Singapore, which serve as financial centres where the world’s wealthy park their riches, despite tax evasion scandals ending banking secrecy. 

Switzerland remains the world’s leading destination for cross-border wealth management, but smaller Asian centres, such as Hong Kong and Singapore, are growing fast. The state visit to Singapore, a first for a Swiss president, is planned for the 11th to 13th of July.

Schneider-Ammann, who is also Economics Minister, will be received by President Tony Tan Keng Yam – who visited Switzerland in 2014 – and by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

He is also scheduled to hold official talks with Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, and Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang.

“This is an expression of the close cooperation between the two countries and comes ahead of the 50th anniversary of bilateral relations in 2017,” the Swiss government said in a statement released on Tuesdayexternal link.

European-Asian ties

Amid the rise of Asia’s new super-rich, Switzerland considers rival banking centre Singapore as its most important trading partner within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The two plan to discuss new business and science opportunities.

Direct relations with South Korea have intensified in all areas in recent years, according to the Swiss government, which hopes for more exchanges in education, research and technical innovation. During his visit to Seoul, Schneider-Ammann will meet with President Park Geun-hye, and open the third Swiss-Korean Life Science Symposium.

In Mongolia, Schneider-Ammann will attend the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), from the 15th to 16th of July, for informal talks on a range of political, economic and cultural issues. Switzerland has taken part in the forum since 2012.

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