Cabinet gives green light for WTO renovation

The government says it will give SFr45 million ($43 million) for the renovation and expansion of the World Trade Organization headquarters in Geneva.

This content was published on May 30, 2008 - 17:27

In a statement on Friday the cabinet said that it had agreed with the WTO on long-term renovation plans that would costs a total of SFr130 million.

About half will be funded through interest-free loans that the WTO will have to pay back within 50 years. Switzerland will pay the rest of the bill.

Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey said that as a city hosting international organisations, Geneva faced fierce competition from other cites, including Bonn and Vienna.

The statement said the first phase of renovation would be completed by 2011, when construction would begin on an extension of the building. All work should be completed by 2013, when the WTO would be able to house more than 1,100 staff in a single location.

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung newspaper reported last year that the WTO was threatening to move to Hong Kong, Singapore or elsewhere if the Swiss refused to meet the organisation's demands.

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