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Switzerland and US sign trade deal

Switzerland and the United States have set up a joint economic commission to boost trade links between the two countries. The agreement was described as a new beginning by the Swiss economics minister, Pascal Couchepin (pictured).

This content was published on January 29, 2000 - 18:57

Switzerland and the United States have set up a joint economic commission to boost trade links between the two countries. The agreement is being described as a new beginning in relations between Washington and Berne, which have suffered over disagreements relating to Swiss banks' links with the Nazi regime.

The deal, agreed on the periphery of the World Economic Forum in Davos, is being touted as a new chance for US/Swiss relations.

Signed by the Swiss economics minister, Pascal Couchepin, and his American counterpart, William Daley, it aims to strengthen trade ties, particularly in industries such as pharmaceuticals, finance and insurance.

The agreement is also being seen as way of forging greater co-operation in the fight against financial crimes, and in joint efforts to bring stability to the Balkans.

Couchepin said the deal would not only strengthen bilateral ties, but also help to promote the free market and trade relations with countries outside Europe.

The groundwork for the agreement was started in January 1999, by the then Swiss president, Ruth Dreifuss, and the US vice-president, Al Gore.

Trade between Switzerland and the US reached 16 billion dollars in 1999. The total value of bilateral investments was 84 billion dollars at the end of 1997.

From staff and wire reports

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