Free trade and banking under discussion as Swiss Foreign Minister visits India
Swiss Foreign Minister, Ignazio Cassis, begins a four-day visit to India today, with free trade and banking expected to be on the agenda.
The visit marks 70 years of a Friendship Treaty signed between the two countries in 1948. It’s hoped that, during his visit, the minister will make progress on a free trade deal between India and the European Free Trade Association, of which Switzerland is a member. Negotiations on a potential deal began 10 years ago but there have been problems along the way.
One sticking point has been over patent protection, with the Swiss pharmaceutical industry insisting on comprehensive protection, which it believes will not be guaranteed in India.
The Foreign Minister is also expected to discuss the exchange of financial account information in tax matters between India and Switzerland, which comes into force this year. Two years ago, the two countries signed a joint declaration to ensure that financial information on bank accounts held by Indians in Switzerland and vice versa will be shared annually.
Other topics of discussion will be nuclear weapons control, climate change, reform of the United Nations and the Human Rights Council.