Switzerland–United States relations
The first official U.S.-Swiss consular relations were established in the late 1820s. Diplomatic relations were established in 1853 by the U.S. and in 1868 by Switzerland. The U.S. ambassador to Switzerland is also accredited to the Principality of Liechtenstein.
The U.S. Embassy in Switzerland is in Bern. The U.S. Mission to the European Office of the United Nations and other International Organizations, the U.S. Mission to the WTO, and the U.S. Delegation to the Conference on Disarmament are in Geneva. America Centers and Consular Agencies are also maintained in Zurich and Geneva.
Moreover, Switzerland acts as the protecting power for relations and interests between Cuba and the U.S. and between the U.S. and Iran; the United States does not maintain any relations with either of the two countries.
The first 4 years of cooperation under the U.S.-Swiss Joint Economic Commission (JEC) invigorated bilateral ties by recording achievements in a number of areas, including consultations on anti-money laundering efforts, counter-terrorism, and pharmaceutical regulatory cooperation; an e-government conference; and the re-establishment of the Fulbright student/cultural exchange program.
The United States and Switzerland signed three new agreements in 2006 that will complement the JEC. The first of the new agreements is the Enhanced Political Framework and was signed by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns and Swiss State Secretary Michael Ambühl. The second agreement is the Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum and was signed by then-U.S. Trade Representative Robert Portman and then-Economics and Trade Minister Joseph Deiss. The last agreement is the revised Operative Working Arrangement on Law Enforcement Cooperation on Counterterrorism and was signed by U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and then-Swiss Justice Minister Christoph Blocher.
In February 2013, the Swiss Federal Council allowed for the signing of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) with the US. These agreements force all Swiss banks to inform the Internal Revenue Service of undeclared, off-shore accounts. These new regulations will be applicable by 2014, and in turn assure Swiss banks of continued operations within the US.
Notes and references
- U.S. Global Leadership Project Report - 2012 Gallup
- Das Abkommen zwischen der Schweiz und den USA zum US-Steuergesetz FATCA ist unterzeichnet. (in German). Blick.com Wirtschaft. Retrieved 26 May, 2013.
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