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Swiss pitch for OECD presidency

Switzerland has put in a bid to chair next year's ministerial meeting of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Switzerland last chaired the meeting 20 years ago. Italy has also expressed an interest in the 2010 presidency.

Rita Baldegger, a spokeswoman for the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, said the OECD was an important international platform. "A Swiss presidency would allow us to influence the international scene and to strengthen ties with our economic partners," she noted.

The OECD will make a decision on next year's presidency at the end of the year. The date of the next ministerial meeting has not yet been fixed, but is usually held in May or June.

If the presidency goes to Switzerland, the seat would be held by Economics Minister Doris Leuthard, who also takes on the year-long position of Swiss president in 2010.

Switzerland has unblocked funds totalling €136,000 (SFr205,000) that were destined for the OECD. The money was frozen when the country was added to the organisation's "grey list" of uncooperative tax havens, and released due to "improving communication", Baldegger said. and agencies


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