Edward McMullen, the United States ambassador to Switzerland, says he intends to step down at the end of 2020 and return to the private sector.
“I told president Trump that it was an honour for me to participate in US-Swiss relations during this mandate. But I am an entrepreneur, not a politician,” McMullen told the SonntagsBlick external linknewspaper on Sunday.
The US ambassador says he wants to return to the private sector after the US elections in November 2020. McMullen used to run an advertising and corporate public affairs firm in South Carolina.
McMullen, the US ambassador for Switzerland and Liechtenstein, officially took up his ambassador post in Bern in November 2017. In 2016, the political strategist helped steer Trump's victory in the Republican primary in South Carolina before becoming a member of Trump's transition team, and Vice Chairman of the Presidential Inaugural Committee.
The news comes amid a flurry of US-Swiss diplomatic activity. In May, Swiss President Ueli Maurer visited the White House to meet with Trump to discuss trade relations and Switzerland’s role as an intermediary between the US and Iran and Venezuela.
In February, Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis carried out a two-day trip to the USexternal link, where he met US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton in Washington. Cassis was upbeat about a future free-trade agreement between Switzerland and US.
“I would definitely stay a few more months if a free-trade agreement was in a crucial phase and the president wished me to do so,” McMullen commented.
The US is Switzerland’s second most important trading partner, behind Germany. Switzerland has been courting the US with the aim of kick-starting free trade negotiations that were attempted in 2006 but failed to reach agreement primarily over Switzerland’s stance on agriculture.