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Swiss ambassador calls for closer relations with the United States

The Swiss ambassador to Washington Alfred Defago on Wednesday called on Swiss captains of industry to forge closer relations with the United States, saying the U.S. was a trade partner of vital importance for this country.

This content was published on June 23, 1999 - 17:24

The Swiss ambassador to Washington Alfred Defago on Wednesday called on Swiss captains of industry to forge closer relations with the United States, saying the U.S. was a trade partner of vital importance for this country.

Defago, addressing the Swiss-U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Zurich, called on Swiss industry as well as the government to particularly step up trade and cooperation with the United States, which he described as the second largest export market for Swiss products and services.

Building closer transatlantic relations should not only mean increasing Switzerland’s presence in the U.S. but should above all result in an increased exchange of ideas and regular contacts between political and business leaders, Defago said.

He said that even though Switzerland was a small country it was nevertheless among the seven leading direct investors in the U.S. market.

Political relations between Switzerland and the U.S. suffered a setback in 1997 and 1998, when the U.S. put pressure on Switzerland in the row over holocaust-era dormant bank accounts and Switzerland’s dealings with Nazi Germany.

Defago said that the settlement which Swiss banks and the World Jewish Congress eventually agreed to clearly helped boost bilateral relations.

He underlined that, even though the U.S. threats of an economic boycott at the time did not have a negative effect on Swiss businesses, Switzerland should now make a concerted effort to further improve ties between the two countries at all levels.

Source: apd


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