Trump tells Sommaruga he wants Swiss-US trade deal

Trump met new Swiss president Simonetta Sommaruga on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos. Keystone

US President Donald Trump has told Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga he wants a free trade agreement with Switzerland.

This content was published on January 21, 2020 - 18:35

"Let's see what we can do," he said during a meeting on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The US president gave similar positive signals to Sommaruga’s predecessor Ueli Maurer last May, but the trade deal has been stalling particularly over agricultural issues.

Trump said he had come to talk "mainly about trade" with Sommaruga. The Swiss president said she wanted to discuss not only the economy but also good offices and the climate.

Trump did not, however, mention the Swiss mandate to represent American interests in Iran, which was on the agenda of the meeting. Several sources, including the Iranian ambassador in Bern, have recently stated that this role has been useful in calming the situation after the US assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. Because of this crisis and the crash of the Ukrainian plane in Iran, Tehran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif decided not to come to Davos.

Sommaruga told Trump she was delighted to continue the contacts between their two governments, adding that she also wished to discuss global warming, "something that concerns us all". However, this brought only an unenthusiastic expression from the US president.

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