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Merz secures British support from Brown

Finance Minister Hans-Rudolf Merz has told British Prime Minister Gordon Brown that there are no grounds for Switzerland to be placed on a G20 list of uncooperative states.

The two leaders met at an informal meeting of the International Monetary and Finance Committee in London. Brown said that his government would support Switzerland's stance.

The world's major industrialised nations, known as the Group of 20, or G20, are to examine a proposal to blacklist Switzerland and other countries at a meeting in London at the beginning of April.

The discussion between Merz and Brown centred on international cooperation in tax matters as well as on current efforts to stabilise international financial markets, a statement from the Swiss finance ministry said.

Merz, head of state this year under Switzerland's rotating presidency, confirmed that Switzerland was willing to enter into negotiations to revise double-taxation treaties on the basis of the OECD standard on administrative assistance in tax matters.

The IMF meeting was preceded by a meeting of the G20 finance ministers, also in London. Speaking after this meeting, US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner welcomed the decision of the Swiss to relax banking secrecy.

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