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It’s complicated

Switzerland and the US are not exactly best friends right now. Relations between the two countries have been overshadowed since 2009 by disputes over Switzerland’s bank secrecy laws and Americans’ use of Swiss accounts to shield untaxed income.

Observers are divided, however, over whether a Romney or Obama win would help patch things up in the short term.

David Sylvan, an American political scientist at the Geneva-based Graduate Institute, felt Switzerland was not a priority for either political party right now.

“There may be a few sneering comments from the Democrats about Romney’s Swiss bank account, but if you were to comb the websites of either campaign there wouldn’t be a single reference to bilateral relations with Switzerland,” he noted.

“The US Treasury and State departments have large numbers of senior civil servants who have served under both administrations. Both parties have very close points of view on all foreign policy issues. I would be astonished if Romney won and then made significant changes to US-Swiss relations.”

Swiss parliamentarians also have their doubts.

“Some argue that Romney may have a different attitude to Obama, but I don’t think things will change as the IRS and Department of Justice have a clear policy,” said centre-right Radical Party senator Felix Gutzwiller, who is vice president of the Senate foreign affairs commission.

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