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Switzerland rejects EU tax objections

Members of the Swiss government have reiterated their determination to resist further European Union incursions on its tax system.

The European Commission contends that the ability of regional cantonal governments to adjust tax levels to encourage international holding companies and high net worth individuals to relocate in Switzerland is "incompatible" with the 1972 free trade agreement between Switzerland and the EU. The Swiss tax system, it said, distorts trade within the EU bloc.

Michael Ambuhl, a senior official of the Swiss Federal department of Foreign Affairs, told Swiss Radio in December: "Our position is absolutely clear. The cantonal taxes do not constitute a subsidy, indirect or direct, to the exchange of goods, and as such do not affect the free-trade agreement."

Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey had previously stated that there was "absolutely no room for negotiation," regarding Swiss tax laws.

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