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German tax dispute No progress made with Baden-Württemberg

Little progress has been made on a tax dispute with Germany during a visit to the Swiss capital by Winfried Kretschmann, state president of Baden-Württemberg.

The Green Party politician met four members of Switzerland’s seven-person cabinet on Monday, including Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, who holds the rotating presidency for 2012.

But despite the high ministerial turnout, nothing shifted in the debate over tax evasion, which has soured relations between Bern and Berlin. In March, Swiss authorities issued arrest warrants for three German tax inspectors over the purchase in 2010 of a CD containing data on suspected tax cheats.

Kretschmann said he was concerned that a tax agreement between the two countries which doesn’t come into force until 2013 - and which has not yet been ratified by Germany - gave tax cheats time to hide their money elsewhere. Nevertheless, he said at a press conference that relations between Switzerland and the neighbouring German state were “intensive and cordial”.

Baden-Württemberg alone is responsible for a third of German-Swiss trade volume – some SFr33 billion ($36.3 billion).

A second long-running disagreement between Switzerland and southern Germany – over aeroplane noise pollution – also failed to come any nearer to being solved. The next round of talks will take place in the coming weeks.

Kretschmann also met Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter and Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann. and agencies

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