New Swiss Negotiator to Defend with “Firmness”

by swisscham in Bilateral Relations

Switzerland has named a replacement for its top diplomat in ongoing international tax and banking talks: Jacques de Watteville, the current ambassador to China. He replaces Michael Ambühl, who stepped down in August. De Watteville was appointed State Secretary for International Financial and Tax Matters in the finance ministry on Wednesday. The 62-year-old succeeds Ambühl, who led lengthy banking and tax evasion talks with the United States and negotiations with the European Union, and who left his post to become a professor at Zurich’s Federal Institute of Technology. De Watteville has a busy agenda ahead of him: talks with France, Germany, Italy and the European Union are expected, as well as dealing with pressures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the G20 and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) inter-governmental body. He told reporters in Bern that he would defend Switzerland’s interests with “determination and firmness”. Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf described the career diplomat as an “independent-minded” man with clear opinions and loyal. The search for Ambühl’s successor was coordinated with the foreign ministry. “It is important that the foreign and finance ministries cooperate well,” De Watteville said.

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