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Business

Switzerland plans to hit back at OECD

Latest update : 2009-04-13

Angry at being placed on the OECD's 'grey list' of tax havens drawn up at the G20 summit, Switzerland is reportedly planning further retaliatory measures, such as delaying payment of its membership fee.

AFP - Switzerland is considering further measures against the OECD in the row over how much the country is doing to reform its policy on tax havens, media reports said Sunday.

The Neue Zuercher Zeitung (NZZ) quoted Swiss officials as saying they might block progress in cooperation with China, India and other emerging countries in protest against being placed on the OECD's "grey list".

On Wednesday Switzerland blocked a payment of 136,000 euros (180,000 dollars) to the OECD, a 30-member organisation of major industrialised countries.

Officials were now considering delaying their membership subscription of 10 million Swiss francs (8.65 million dollars) or blocking the 2011 reelection of OECD secretary general Angel Gurria, the paper reported.

The federal finance ministry could not be reached for comment.

But Interior Minister Pascal Couchepin told Sonntag, another Sunday paper, that it was not up to the OECD to act as a "restaurant guide" on the issue.

On April 2, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released a "grey list" of countries that "have committed to the internationally agreed tax standard, but have not yet substantially implemented" the measures.

Swiss politicians were furious to find their country on the list even though it had announced measures to relax its tax secrecy laws.

On Thursday Gurria said that the first contacts with Switzerland on tax issues had taken place in October 2008.

"The OECD acted in good faith and duly shared its information with the representatives of the countries concerned," he said in a letter to the president of the Swiss confederation.

Switzerland had so far "not signed a single agreement on the exchange of tax information in conformity with OECD standards", he added.

Date created : 2009-04-13

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