Swiss dig in heels
Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf has reiterated Switzerland's objections to automatically exchanging tax information with other countries.
In an interview with Le Temps newspaper on Saturday, Widmer-Schlumpf pointed out that the US and many countries in Asia were also resistent to the idea.
Instead, Switzerland has set up a working group to grind out the fine details of how to implement its "weissgeld" - or "clean money" - strategy, designed to weed out money launderers and tax evaders from the financial sector.
"It is conceivable that different standards can coexist," Widmer-Schlumpf told Le Temps, referring to demands - primarily from the EU - for a full-blown exchange of information.
This is unlikely to impress EU finance ministers, who emphasised their intention to crack down on tax evasion at a meeting in Dublin this weekend. Only Austria is so far holding out on an EU-wide information exchange deal, with France threatening to blacklist Switzerland's neighbour.
And European tax commissioner Algirdas Semeta hopes for a mandate to negotiate with other troublesome countries such as Switzerland.
The anti-tax haven message can expect further momentum from meetings of G20 finance ministers and of the IMF, both to be held in Washington next week.
Matthew Allen, swissinfo.ch
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