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Tempers cool over blacklist threat

Switzerland will not be on a tax haven blacklist, says a minister from the Czech Republic whose country currently holds the European Union presidency.

Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said that no EU state would appear on such a list. Although Switzerland is not an EU member, the comments apply to the country as well since Switzerland has agreed to apply international standards to portions of its banking secrecy law.

"These countries which have accepted these standards, they are not on this blacklist," Topolanek said.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development had reportedly been working on a draft document that would single out so-called tax havens and burden them with additional taxes, reporting schedules and auditing. German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück has said Switzerland would likely feature on such a blacklist.

After a feisty war of words in the press with Swiss lawmakers, Steinbrück said on Friday he was ready to meet Swiss Finance Minister Hanz-Rudolph Merz directly to talk tax policy. The meeting would likely happen soon, Steinbrück said.

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