Swiss Vice President: Economic Exchange with KSA Amounts to $5.2 Billion

Swiss Vice President: Economic Exchange with KSA Amounts to $5.2 Billion

Sunday, 18 February, 2018 - 08:00
Swiss Vice President and Finance Minister of Switzerland Ueli Maurer (Reuters)
Riyadh- Fatah Al-Rahman Youssef
Vice President and Finance Minister of Switzerland Ueli Maurer said “It is important for all parties to continue to comply fully with their commitments to this plan, and avoid any actions that violate the objectives of this agreement,” he stated.

Responding to questions by Asharq Al-Awsat through the Swiss Embassy in Riyadh, Maurer expressed his government’s concern over the situation in Syria and Yemen, noting that Switzerland was aspiring to develop a large and long-term humanitarian aid program, focusing on water and sanitation issues and the protection of civilians.

On the relations between Saudi Arabia and Switzerland, the vice president underlined a Swiss determination to strengthen cooperation in the financial sector, facilitate and improve conditions for the exchange of financial services and pave the way for conducting financial dialogue on bilateral and international issues.

“Saudi Arabia is an important market for the providers of Swiss financial services outside Europe, and our financial institutions have a strong presence in Saudi markets,” he stated.

On economy and trade, Maurer said the Kingdom was one of Switzerland’s most important trading partners in the Middle East.

“In 2017, Swiss exports to the Kingdom amounted to 8.1 billion Swiss francs. Our imports from Saudi Arabia have reached 558 million Swiss francs,” he said, adding that trade between his country and Saudi Arabia reached more than $5.2 billion in 2017, while in the previous year, Swiss companies in the Saudi labor market provided jobs for more than 12,000 people and the value of Swiss direct foreign investment in the Kingdom was about $1 billion.

Asked about Swiss policy to counter corruption, Maurer noted that good governance and the rule of law were important factors in a country’s international competitiveness.

“Anti-corruption is, therefore, an ongoing endeavor, not only for the Swiss government but also for its parliament and judicial system,” he remarked.

Maurer explained that his country was constantly reviewing anti-corruption laws and regulations and also taking into account the results of reviews issued by the United Nations and other international organizations such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Council of Europe.

On challenges facing the Swiss government in the fields of peace and security, the vice-president said: “As a country in the heart of Europe, Switzerland faces the same security challenges as the surrounding countries. Cyber-attacks against Swiss companies and the financial sector are common and have even targeted government institutions and the Swiss army. Switzerland has survived terrorist attacks so far, but the danger is always on the rise because the overall security situation in Europe has worsened recently.”

Commenting on the situation in Syria and Yemen, Maurer noted that his country was watching with concern the recent military developments in the two countries and the significant implications for the civilian population.

“Switzerland aspires to develop a massive and long-term humanitarian aid program, focusing on water and sanitation issues, as well as on the protection of civilians,” he stated.

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