- G20 - Switzerland - tax evasion - Tax havens
AFP - Switzerland has criticised its inclusion in an OECD "grey" list of financial centres that forms the basis of the Group of 20 summit's crackdown on tax havens.
"President Hans-Rudolf Merz regrets this procedure. The list does not specify the criteria on the basis of which it was drawn up. Switzerland is not a tax haven," the finance ministry said in a statement late Thursday.
The three-tier list categorising tax havens and financial centres by their degree of cooperation was endorsed by the G20 leaders meeting in London Thursday.
Switzerland was placed in the middle tier of countries, which have adopted the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development's standards on exchanging tax information but not yet "substantially" implemented them.
The government formally decided on March 13 to ease the country's banking secrecy and fully adopt OECD tax standards.
It insisted in the statement after the G20 summit that its "actions are louder than words".
Last week the Swiss government gave the green light to talks with the United States and Japan to reinforce tax cooperation, while negotiations with some European countries are expected to be endorsed this month.
"Switzerland is not a tax haven. It always meets its obligations and is always ready to engage in dialogue," the statement said.
Swiss irritation is heightened by the fact that they are members of the OECD, a Paris-based grouping of industralised countries.
"The fact that Switzerland as a founding member of the OECD was never included in the discussions on drawing up lists is particularly strange."