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US-Swiss relations Swiss president reaches out to Donald Trump

Trump expressed interest in Switzerland's vocational training system for school-leavers

(Keystone)

Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann and US President-elect Donald Trump have discussed apprenticeships, innovation and migration in their first telephone conversation. 

In a phone call on Wednesday, Schneider-Ammann congratulated Trump on his election victory and underlined the good partnership between Switzerland and the US. Trump expressed his “respect” for Swiss stability, strong economy and apprenticeship system. He was particularly interested in the migrant situation in Europe. 

The Swiss president referred to the two countries as “sister republics” and spoke of the close economic and political relationship they shared. Switzerland is the sixth largest foreign investor in the US and Swiss companies employ around 450,000 people there. Schneider-Ammann also used the phone call as an opportunity to highlight the importance of opening up markets. 

On the campaign trail, Trump threatened to withdraw the US from the Geneva-based World Trade Organisation (WTO), which operates a system of trade rules and helps nations settle trade disputes. Under its rules, the US cannot unilaterally impose tariffs but must make a case for them by proving that another country has caused damage to US trade through unfair practices. 

The Swiss government has been in contact with Trump’s campaign since September 2015 and is now in touch with his transition team.

swissinfo.ch and agencies/a.c

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