The new Swiss economics minister, Johann Schneider-Ammann, has ended his first official trip abroad in Rome.
During his visit, he met the Italian minister for economic development, Paolo Romani, to discuss prospects for economic relations between Switzerland and its southern neighbour.
The two ministers agreed that strengthening cross-border trade was vital, according to a statement issued by the Swiss economics ministry in Bern.
Schneider-Ammann and Romani also talked about promoting projects in the bio- and nanotechnologies.
They also discussed the tax dispute between the two countries, although tax matters are not in their domain.
Switzerland, which is not a member of the European Union, has signed revised tax accords with EU members Germany and Britain but an agreement with Italy is still pending.
On Wednesday, the Italian finance minister, Giulio Tremonti, criticised EU member states that had made bilateral tax agreements with Switzerland, arguing that all EU member states should show a united front on the issue.
swissinfo.ch and agencies