Couchepin to meet Indian prime minister
Switzerland's economics minister, Pascal Couchepin (pictured), will meet the Indian prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and the president, K.R. Naryanan, on the second day of his visit to India.
Switzerland’s economics minister, Pascal Couchepin (pictured), will meet the Indian prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and the president, K.R. Naryanan, on the second day of his visit to India.
On Monday, Couchepin met members of India’s trade and industry association in Delhi. He said the partnership between Switzerland and India was important as part of a globalising world economy.
He said that although the two countries had differing opinions on certain issues, relations had improved noticeably in the last 20 yaers
Couchepin is accompanied on the four-day trip by a business delegation under the leadership of the president of the Swiss Trade and Industry Association, Andres Leuenberger.
“For Switzerland, India is an extremely important market. In a few years time, in terms of population, India may even become bigger than China so this is an obvious opportunity for Swiss business”, says Robin Tickle, head of communication at the Swiss Economics Ministry.
At the official level, there will be an exchange of instruments of ratification of an agreement signed in 1997 for the protection of investments and Couchepin will sign a protocol to modify the double taxation agreement between the two countries.
Discussions will also be held in Bombay and Hyderabad with the governors and chief ministers of the states of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. These will centre on development and industry questions.
The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs in Berne says the delegation will pay particular attention to high tech areas such as computer science and software – sectors which have shown rapid growth and offer good potential.
From staff reports and wires
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